Right before the Iraq War began in 2003, David Frum wrote an infamous essay at National Review titled “Unpatriotic Conservatives.” It denounced paleoconservatives such as Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, and libertarians such as Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo, all of whom opposed the war. Frum accused them of “denying and excusing terrorism” and “yearning for the victory of their nation’s enemies.” He concluded by decrying them as anti-Semitic and writing, “They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.”
In the end, the right’s Iraq opponents had the last laugh. President Donald Trump campaigned on his opposition to the Iraq War and has more in common ideologically with Buchanan than Frum. Libertarians are influential in both in the Trump administration and in Congress. Meanwhile, Frum has been all but exiled from the conservative movement, and neoconservatism has lost nearly all its influence and relevance in the political arena.
One of the neocons who doesn’t seem to realize how irrelevant he’s become is former Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Bill Kristol, who recently sat down and gave a talk at the American Enterprise Institute about the decline of the white working class. In remarks to AEI scholar Charles Murray, Kristol called for a wave of immigration to replace the “decadent, lazy” and “spoiled” white working class.
From the Daily Caller:
“Look, to be totally honest, if things are so bad as you say with the white working class, don’t you want to get new Americans in?” Kristol told author Charles Murray during an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute titled “It Came Apart: What’s Next for a Fractured Culture.” Murray recently wrote a book, entitled “Coming Apart,” which focuses on the cultural separation between the wealthiest and most educated white Americans and the poorest and least educated white Americans. …
“You can make a case that America has been great because every — I think John Adams said this — basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two or three generations of hard work everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled — whatever,” Kristol said.
“Then, luckily, you have these waves of people coming in from Italy, Ireland, Russia, and now Mexico, who really want to work hard and really want to succeed and really want their kids to live better lives than them and aren’t sort of clipping coupons or hoping that they can hang on and meanwhile grew up as spoiled kids and so forth. In that respect, I don’t know how this moment is that different from the early 20th century,” he added.
Here’s a video of those comments:
The white working class has been decimated by manufacturing job losses, culture war defeats, and the losses of their sons and daughters in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. They gravitated to the one man, Donald Trump, who acted like he gave a damn about them and understood their concerns. They want jobs and some dignity. They’re sick of sending their loved ones to fight and die for dubious wars — wars that Bill Kristol and other neocons supported.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a man whose “working day” consists of sitting in an air conditioned room and talking on panels and TV shows has any right to call other people “lazy” and “decadent.” Kristol built his career off of his famous father, Irving, which is something most Americans haven’t been able to do.
Kristol is not the only neocon who’s been driven to extremist rhetoric by the election of Trump. Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin has said President Trump is “not a loyal American.” Former Heat Street editor Louise Mensch called Trump voters “the scum of the earth” and “traitors.” Even David Frum himself has accused Trump of being a “willing accomplice” in Russian election hacking.
The reason the Russians interfered with our election was to delegitimize the process. Russia and the rest of America’s adversaries want to see us divided and at war with ourselves. It’s the same reason Moscow wants California to secede from the union. By leveling ridiculous criticisms at Trump and attacking the American people, neocons are doing Putin’s dirty work for him, reinforcing their own detachment from the public they serve, driving that chasm ever-wider.
Frum’s infamous closing line from “Unpatriotic Conservatives” should be paraphrased. The neocons started by hating Donald Trump. Then they hated the American people. They finished by hurting their country and aiding its enemies.