A conversation on the conservative movement with Washington writer, editor and historian Matthew Continetti
I am not completely impressed with Mr. Continetti's analysis.
"I don’t think the Republican Party is pro-labour, I’m sorry. "
He should be sorry for allowing his own ideological bias to cause him to deny what is clearly the case. It is the middle working-class that makes up the Trump supporter base. The Canadian truckers were waving Trump signs. If not labor, then what are these people?
You don't need to support unions to be identified as supporting labor. In the US the labor unions are completely connected with the Democrat party apparatus even though the Democrats support globalist policies that tend to reduce the number of American jobs.
But American working-class voters (i.e., labor) are jumping the Democrats and going Republican. Trump has clearly attracted American labor as the Democrats have gone elite. Yes, the old Peggy Noonan establishment Reagan Republicans float too high in their societal hierarchy to connect with these bearded builders, growers and fixers of real things... but those old establishment Republicans have no constituents but themselves and big oil. The entire Wall Street and corporate world in the new economy is aligned with the Democrats. The billionaires are aligned with the Democrats. The working class is aligned with the Trump Republicans. Either the establishment Republicans get with the program, or they should just admit that they are Democrats to get some of that big tech power and money.
One way to look at this requires a focus on the American small business economy. In 2008 the number of small businesses crashed. It never really recovered under Obama... with 6 years of a largely jobless recovery and an explosion in new regulations that reduced small business starts. In 2014, for the first time in our nation's history, large business supplanted small business as the nation's job creation engine. Under Trump small business starts again started gaining ground. Then the pandemic and reports are that 60% of all American small business will fail as a result of primarily government actions. Democrats like it that way. They really hate small business as it is like herding cats to get them to do the bidding of the Democrat agenda. Better to have just a few mega corporations that they can rub shoulders with and collude with to consolidate more power and wealth.
A Trump Republican supports labor and small business over the Wall Street and big government corporatism dominating the economy today. However, a Trump Republican does not support labor unions as they are just another animal form of collectivism and tend to empower the Democrats... that not only do not care about labor, but are actively working to destroy individual and small business economic opportunity as economically-independent voters tend to not support the Democrat agenda.
Trump supporters are America-first, worker-first, minded people. They are the same that passed Brexit in GB. They are the same as the Canadian Truckers. Elite Republicans are as much the political enemy as are Democrats. They both stand in the way of needed progress to bring back economic opportunity to the working middle class.
You are wrong about why Trump was elected. It was absolutely not a small choice of the lesser of two bad options. Here are some reasons people voted for Trump and reasons why they will again:
1. If you were opposed to abortion, you could not vote for a Democrat.
2. If you believed in an individual right to own a gun, you could not vote for a Democrat.
3. Same thing if you want a strong border with real enforcement, not open borders.
4. Same thing if you want a good economy instead of ruinous green new deal stuff.
5. Same thing you want a smaller, less intrusive government and fewer regulations.
6. Same thing if you want strong, supported police. The Democratic convention in 2020 made zero mention of the violence and rioting happening that summer, in effect endorsing the "defund the police" movement being promoted by some Democrats. The police are still hurting with recruiting and resignations because of the aftereffects of that movement.
7. Same thing if you want education to teach real topics instead of political indoctrination.
8. Related issue: what if I don't want you burying my kids with transgender concepts long before they can begin to understand anything about sex? What if I feel these areas are a parent's job?
9. What if you believe voter id laws are reasonable?
Trump was the first person to stand against the establishment in both parties.
Insightful and refreshing conversation. Thank-you. Please also consider the dynamic that the Liberals have vilified every straight white male and how that has impacted the Republican Party.
Methinks he misses the point on being pro-labor: the unions also take advantage of the workers. Most blue-collar union members vote Republican now anyway, no matter who the union endorses. Being pro-labor while suspicious of union leadership is in no way a contradiction.
Things got off on a wrong note from the get-go: Matthew Continetti describes beginning his journalism career in Washington DC, at the Weekly Standard. And how he learned journalism by reading the archives of that same publication. All without mentioning that the Weekly Standard was NeoCon Central, beating the drums for the criminal invasion and destruction of Iraq. Everyone associated with that publication, in a just world, would be spending the rest of their lives in prison for Crimes Against Humanity. Instead, we still see smilin' Bill Kristol, now the darling of the Russiagate-addled Democrats, beating the drums for war against Russia, against Iran, against Syria, etc. His own myopia comes through when he says "Ukraine was invaded, without provocation" by Russia. Pulleeze. Get out of the DC bubble, and wake up to the history of the region, especially in the past twenty years. Start by listening to Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland, conversing with the US ambassador to Ukraine, selecting the "government-to-be" of Ukraine after she helped engineer a coup there. No mention of Ukraine's military, thoroughly infused with the proteges of Nazi collaborators, de facto integrated into NATO already.
As it happens, Matthew Continetti is married to Bill Kristol's daughter. Which further explains his otherwise amazing avoidance of the actual politics pushed by the Weekly Standard, where he cut his teeth, so to speak. Kristol, warmonger that he is, opposed any moves by Trump to dial back US imperialist projects abroad, be it NATO or the dirty war against Syria. Mr. Continetti fails to mention that, either. All this makes it exceedingly difficult to take him seriously.
I have to laugh at the idea that any of the Republicans he mentions have any real principles at all. Which goes for the Dems, as well. Other than fealty to their megabuck donors, what do any of them stand for? In practice, not in words?
He made some observations that were on point critiquing the facets of the Right however numerous were hyperbole and ignoring the advances and machinations of the Left are unforgivable if he wanted credibility for his pov. He’s definitely a Rhino. Tara your suasions on the CDN Right are way off base in assessing their attributions, origins or goals.
Sounded like a clueless left wing CDN journo interviewing an apologist American Rhino.
"I see some resonances between the New Right in the States and what’s emerging in the Canadian populist trucker movement. <edit> How do we understand this New Right? Where does it come from? What are its guiding principles?"
You're reading way too much into the trucker thing Tara. We're not left, we're not right, we're not anything you imagine us to be. The only common element among truckers (I am one, you aren't, so please listen) is that we just want to be left the fuck alone. That's why we drive a truck. No one is telling us what to do. It's ALL on us. That's the only yardstick we use to measure each other. Performance, followed by good will. We're not alone in that outlook. Plenty of industrial workers feel exactly the same way. We don't care where you're from, or what you look like. If you can perform, and you have good will, you're one of us.
There's no left or right where we live Tara. There's only US vs. THEM.
He just revealed himself as a neocon... 'Ukraine was invaded without provocation by Russia'. Total neocon mentality that he's so pro NATO that he thinks it's a beneficent force for good in the world. Gimme a Trumper over that and that's still not very good. Trump was very anti Russian during his time and he armed Ukraine to the teeth.. But then he was only following his handlers from deep state so he can't be blamed.
"But there’s a split in this New Right. And that’s over foreign affairs. If you’re a nationalist, you would think you would identify with, say, the nation of Ukraine, which has been invaded without provocation by a much larger nation, Russia."
What else would you expect from a guy who's married to Bill Kristol's daughter?
This Left vs Right paradigm you're working to is a complete waste of time Tara. It's all noise meant to distract you from what's really going on, which none of these "thought leaders" will ever talk about because their bread and butter depends on not doing so. Do you really want to be like them? Move in those circles? Didn't you get enough of that at the CBC?
I've heard him discuss his book elsewhere and it's quite fascinating to look back at how things on the right were in the 1920s. The obvious similarities are really interesting.
(1) Tara, great picture. You are a beautiful woman (with absolutely no apologies to the uber correct amongst you). :-)
(2) I struggle with articles like this. Perhaps I misread...but Mr. Continetti implies that parties cook up a politicall broth and serve it, prix fixe, to the masses. I've probably mangled the metaphor...but you get my point.
I believe that poliltical parties are molded as much in reaction to the populace as to their own self-generated political ideology. In other words, party positions are a function of a vacuum into which flow BOTH the needs of the citizens AND the orientations of the parties.
Canada seems again ripe for that union. Few would argue we've been recipients of good government. Too much is awry. Anger abounds. From my perspective, the Freedom Convoy was a response to political stupidity rather than a gesture of right-ism...and Canadian reaction has been quite divided on its appropriateness.
The fracture seems to have followed a fracture in national patience. Even the Conservative party is far from unanimous about it. Regardless of your political persuasion, Poilievre's "stardom" transcends politics. Yes, he's using it...but it's using him also.
I consume media on both the right and the left, and I have never seen or heard of the 'new-right' looking towards a King or a Catholic theocracy. This is not a thing in America; he is talking about one single person, and this is hyperbole. Not helpful to the conversation. I can hear Megyn Kelly or Aaron Mate saying right now: A King? A Catholic theocracy? C'mon Matthew, you know that's not happening! Otherwise, I was very interested to listen to this interview.
Tara, your description of the values of the Canadian "realignment of left and right" would at one time have been a solid description of the CCF (Canadian Commonwealth Federation), which under the leadership of TOMMY DOUGLAS in Saskatchewan, introduced socialized medicine. The movement was socialistic, but informed by the "Social Gospel" - that is left wing Christian values. WE NOW HAVE NOW POLITICAL LEFT IN CANADA - the NDP has been co-opted by neoliberal imperialist globalists who have rejected economic leftism and replaced it with an obsessive IDENTITY POLITICS that has NPTHING TO DO WITH MARXISM-LENINISM or traditional pro-labour leftist values. This dooms the working classes who support their own class with nowhere else to turn but the populist right. Third way politics in the US, Canada and elsewhere has guarantee the rise of a new firght wing populism that will invariably lead to totalitarianism - serving the interests ultimately of the very oligarchs who own the Conservatives, Liberals, and third way sell out NDP. WE NEED A ROBUST SOCIALIST LEFT. We won't get one - the left no longer even has a language to describe their goals AND have been hijacked by identity politics meddlers who's views are anathema to much of the working/middle class. You say: "𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘮, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘨𝘭𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦, 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘧 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘶𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘺. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘦𝘧𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰-𝘭𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘳, 𝘱𝘳𝘰-𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘦𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺, 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺." The CCF and early NDP would have been very happy with this.
You are right, thanks!
I’d like to see one of these conversations with those on the left speaking of centrists. Left of center and then the far left and woke activists. What struggles are taking place in the left?
I agree, in a sense. Most people have more nuanced views on abortion than outright opposition. My wife and I disagree on that issue. He did lose, primarily because Biden was sold as a moderate alternative who would calm things down. However, he has not governed that way - essentially a bait and switch. Biden also won to a degree because of Trump's personality. I don't like Trump, and I think it would be best for the country if he doesn't run again. Most people do, however, agree with much of what I said on the issues.