By DOUG IBENDAHL • January 22, 2016
National Review’s publication of the collective anti-Donald Trump missives from 22 self-appointed conservative potentates has caused quite a stir in Republican circles.
The nationwide responses range from, “Wait, I thought National Review went out of business years ago,” to “Ed Meese? Seriously?”
The Gang of 22 have officially become parodies of themselves. One would have to reach back to the days of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew to lift an adequate quote to describe them.
“Nattering nabobs of negativism,” “vicars of vacillation,” “pusillanimous pussyfooters,” “the decadent few,” “ideological eunuchs,” “the effete corps of impudent snobs,” or “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” – take your pick, because they all apply about equally well to each and every one of them.
So clueless is the Gang of 22 they can’t even see how they’ve stumbled right into the narrative Trump’s been communicating so successfully for months. Just like the elected officials from both parties, the Gang of 22 has been GREAT at complaining about stuff, year, after year, after year.
But getting anything accomplished? Not so much.
Many of the Gang of 22 have been hanging around and chattering for decades, and some are active cogs in the Conservative Entertainment Complex, deriving their income by pandering to conservative anger while offering no real solutions.
Donald Trump represents a threat to these ineffectual poohbahs in the same way he represents a threat to do-nothing public officials.
Jealousy is also seriously at work here. Trump is inspiring and exciting a broad spectrum of the country like no member of the Gang of 22 ever has, or ever will.
In just seven months of campaigning, Trump already has more Americans listening to a Republican message than the entire Gang of 22 could muster over decades. Trump understands that before you can advance the ball, you have to convince people to take time from their busy lives to listen. No one on the GOP side since Ronald Reagan has accomplished that like Trump.
No one else has come close, and certainly no one from that “effete corps of impudent snobs” to which the National Review thinks we should defer.
The Gang of 22 had their chance. They’ve done a lot of bitching over the years, and it paid well for some.
But Americans care about results. They can plainly see that all of the empty talk from the Gang of 22 got us eight years of Barack Obama, and a loss in pretty much every conservative battle there was to lose.
At the same time when Americans look at Donald Trump’s life they get a lot of assurance that here is finally a man who shares their focus on actually getting results. And Trump returns the respect by recognizing regular hard-working Americans are a lot smarter than any of the “ideological eunuchs” in all of their pontificating glory.
The “pusillanimous pussyfooters” love to nitpick Trump’s words, but what voters are looking for this year is competence and accomplishment. Donald Trump has an actual record of delivering both in spades.
The Gang of 22 is right to be terrified. A President who could get things done would expose them as the irrelevant creatures they truly are.
It can’t happen fast enough.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.