Steyn on a misstep:
Roy Moore beats Luther Strange in Alabama. There were certain local factors in play: Mr Strange and the corrupt former governor Bentley had enjoyed a mutually beneficially relationship whereby then Attorney-General Strange called on the legislature to suspend impeachment proceedings against the Governor, and Governor Bentley then appointed Strange to the Senate. Whether a creature from the Alabama swamp is best suited to drain the Washington swamp is a reasonable question for voters to ponder.
Whereas, whatever one feels about Roy Moore, he’s principled enough to be willing to lose his job over the Ten Commandments and same-sex marriage. That’s unusual in American politics.
But in a certain sense this election was a primary between the industrial-strength Bannonite MAGAlicious Donald J Trump (as represented by Moore) and the house-trained semi-neutered General Kellyfied McMasterized Donald J Trump (as represented by Strange). And the house-trained Trump lost. There’s a lesson in that: The man who said he could shoot a guy on Fifth Avenue and his base would stick with him was essentially told by the base that, when he wanders too far down the GOP establishment end of things, the base is just as happy to shoot him.
Or to put it another way: Mitch McConnell figured he could use Trump as a vessel to drag Luther Strange across the finish line. And the base said, “Get lost, creep. Trump’s our vessel.”
There’s a lesson here for Trump: it ain’t about you, buddy. Not by a long yard it ain’t. It’s about us—about our intention to see to it that business as usual in the Deep State swamp is well and truly disrupted, once and for all. This sums the whole thing up pretty well:
The establishment is certain to dismiss this as a fluke, a one-off, an upset stirred up by Breitbart News, former White House Chief Strategist and Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon, for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and other four-letter words. But they already know that it is not. Politico reported ahead of the vote that “mainstream Republicans worry [a Moore win] would instigate a broader offensive by the activist right to unseat other GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterms.”
That movement is already underway, with rumblings that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) may run to replace Corker — a primary race that would, no doubt, put the screws on McConnell and could end in a similarly spectacular defeat for the establishment and donor class. Challenges to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) could also be forming in light of Strange’s defeat in Alabama.
With the nationalist base fired up after Moore’s victory, McConnell and his fellow elites will likely fall back on their old pitch to voters that their establishment candidates are more “pragmatic” and are able to get things done.
This, therefore, puts intense pressure on them to get something done by year’s end because so far, the pragmatic establishment has only managed to pile legislative defeat on top of legislative defeat. Whenever the establishment has convinced the president to follow their lead, he has faced similar defeat. With Obamacare repeal and replace on life support at best and tax reform looking far from certain, the establishment is in trouble as it pertains to achievements.
The Alabama result should serve to teach McConnell, the donor class, and his establishment allies that betraying your voters and throwing money at the problem will not work. Voters are sending a clear message: “Effect change or we will find someone who will.”
Bold mine. We picked Trump as the spearhead of a movement that predates him, and is way bigger than any one person, Trump included. The complaints the career-politician class and its trained media seals had about him were what sold us on him: he was an outsider, not a politician at all, and seemed not just willing but eager to take on the job of upsetting and derailing DC business as usual. Nobody expected miracles from him, and nobody was blind to his personal flaws and foibles; unlike the clueless Leftymedia’s caricature of us, we were by no means drooling sycophants taken in by mere celebrity. Nor were we looking for a savior on a white horse to ride to our rescue.
What we wanted was a Disruptor, and we were and remain perfectly willing to take Trump seriously to task should he waver or falter in doing the job we sent him to do. Canoodling with Establishment swine like McConnell or Ryan—or even the Democrat Socialists, should they prove useful—is fine as a devious means to an end.
But never more than that; never sucking up to them, or succumbing to their flattery, or failing to perceive their treachery, or truly trusting those snakes in the grass for one damned second. Use them, sure; trick them, pretend to “work with” them, deceive them outright—have at it. Let them think they’ve lulled you into accepting their guidance and advice if it helps, Mr President. But never lose sight of the primary objective, which is simply this: disempowering them. Reducing them to irrelevance, taking their power and perks away and, eventually, dismantling the corrupt and tyrannical edifice they spent so long a-building and have so guilefully labored to protect and preserve.
Keep on that track and you’ll go down in history as one of our greatest Presidents, whether you win every last battle or not. Venture off it, and you’ll be remembered only as a failure and a buffoon. There can be no middle ground here, no other outcome but one of those two. And I’m quite sure I know which you’d prefer it to be.