By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner;

Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday took exception to part of my most recent column, raising some trenchant points in the process.

Setting aside several big ways Limbaugh created a straw-man image of me and other so-called Never Trumpers (for instance, I am certainly not “actually in favor of amnesty and ongoing illegal immigration”) let me answer what seems to be his central argument.

Limbaugh’s thesis is that lifelong conservatives like me — I’m grateful he acknowledged my “life’s work” — should be delighted with President Trump because, supposedly thanks to this president, “more conservatism is finding its way into our culture and our politics than at any time since Ronald Reagan.”

Other than his mention of immigration and tax cuts, Limbaugh didn’t specify these allegedly great gains for conservatism — but his claims on “culture” are absurd. A president who manifestlytreats facts and truth as utterly dispensable commodities, who daily coarsens the public square, who repeatedly gives cover for overt racists, who refuses to assert that the United States’ standing in the world owes much to moral authority apart from brute force (e.g., we’re no better morally than Russia), who repeatedly encouraged violence at his campaign rallies, and whose own philandering has been frequent and unrepentant is decidedly not advancing conservative culture.

As for politics, both in terms of actual policy achievements and of long-term conservative electoral viability, the Trump Effect is either thin gruel or, worse, counterproductive.

Yes, conservatives can be glad Trump selected a good Supreme Court justice from a plethora of excellent choices presented to him (not a heavy lift on Trump’s part), glad he stands by Israel, glad he puts executive weight behind religious liberty, and glad his administration works to undo former President Barack Obama’s regulatory excesses. But, other than the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, those gains can prove evanescent, easily counteracted by future presidents, unless Trump actually secures legislation (rather than executive orders or directives) toward those ends.

When it comes to using his office to secure legislation, Trump is extravagantly inept….

[The rest of the column is here.]


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