On Tuesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan talks about the fallen era of conservatism, and what it would take for him to turn against President Trump. Video and partial transcript below:
I’ll tell you, one of the things I like least about the current political moment is watching conservatives who disagree with one another attack each other’s integrity. This is a legitimately difficult moment for thinking conservatives.
Conservatism, as we knew it in the post-Reagan era, has collapsed. It collapsed for good reasons: It collapsed because it failed to stem the slow growth of the undemocratic administrative state, it collapsed because it supported the overly ambitious Bush freedom agenda, which led us into unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and it collapsed because it answered the anguish of unemployment and despair in the heartland with pompous bromides about the wonders of the global free markets that had destroyed their communities and lives. Donald Trump is an effect of that collapse. [He’s] not its cause. He’s a huge American original with huge American flaws.
He’s accomplished a great deal for our country. Taken the brakes off our economy, restored integrity to our judiciary, begun a necessary reordering of international relations in a post-Cold War world, and taken on a corrupt anti-American culture led by a corrupt anti-American news media. He’s also a bullying loudmouth of questionable principles who doesn’t always think before he speaks — all of which hurts both him and the country.
But I don’t pick on every mistake Donald Trump makes. I don’t call balls and strikes from a neutral umpire-like position because I don’t believe the two teams are fighting for the same goals. I believe the Democrat team has become socialistic and anti-American. They say that out loud themselves, they tout socialism, they say America was never great, they oppose the First Amendment when they seek to ban, intimidate, and deep platform speech they disagree with. They also oppose the Second Amendment, which is the only real guarantee of the First. They are, as I’ve said before, enemies of our Founding.
The other party, the Republicans, led by Trump, seemed to me a bunch of fractious clowns straggling in the generally right direction. In other words, they seem like a typical American political party. I don’t question the integrity of Never Trumpers and Trump skeptics — I really don’t — but I do think they’re making a moral miscalculation, a mistake, not a sin. I think their mistake is that they’ve lifted their own discomfort and uncertainty amidst the collapse of the conservative movement, above the true purposes of our politics, which are the preservation of American freedoms and the happiness of the American people. To allow the occasional unforced errors of our blowhard president to endanger those purposes is, in my humble opinion, to be played for a fool by our opponents.
After two and a half years of false accusations against this president, after what looks very much to me like a failed coup attempt by the Obama intelligence community, after a cover-up committed by the very news media whose job it is to expose cover-ups, I think that now every single charge against Trump and each consecutive impeachment hysteria should be laughed out of court until: (A) It’s proven real, and (B) it’s shown to be worth handing our country over to the internal enemies of its first principles.
If Trump himself ever becomes a danger to those principles, and I mean an actual danger, not a rhetorical danger, I will turn and rip into him like a tiger. But so far, it’s not even close. He hasn’t endangered our principles — not even a little — and until he does, [this is] my response to leftist charges against him: Prove it you un-American low-lives, or sit down, wallow in your own disgrace, and shut the hell up.