The Road To Hell Is Sometimes Paved With Good Intentions

Back in 2018, political comedian Bill Maher was lamenting the fact that it was those mostly “former” Republicans — Nicole Wallace, Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, George Will, Bret Stevens, Joe Scarborough, Richard Painter, Michael Steele, Jennifer Rubin, David Jolly, Ana Navarro, Max Boot, and David Frum — that were far better at “landing head punches on Trump” than most Democrats. (These folks can often be seen on liberal MSNBC these days.)

So I tried to think about what it was that these very nice and thoughtful folks had in common besides hating the Donald. And then it came to me. They were all in the so-called compassionate conservative camp of President George W. Bush, the folks who were lead down the rabbit hole of Iraqi Freedom by Vice President Richard Chaney.

For glory and money Cheney bamboozled these folks (and many others) into believing that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and therefore must be militarily defeated, a lie that lead the United States into a bed of middle eastern quicksand. Before this Iraqi debacle the political philosophy of this branch of the Republican Party was in essence as follows.

“The President [W] believes the truest kind of compassion doesn’t only come from more government spending, but from helping citizens build lives of their own. The aim of this philosophy is not to spend less money, or to spend more money, but to spend only on what works. The measure of compassion is more than good intentions — it is good results. Sympathy is not enough — we need solutions.”

This set of moderate conservative Americans was hoping to bring more heart to a party and ideology that was sliding into the brutal weeds of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the bullies at Fox News. They embraced a sort of version of FDR lite. Not really interested in massive government programs that benefited average folks in concrete ways, but rather something vaguely beneficial. But then Donald Trump shoved his way onto the Republican political stage and promptly crapped all over their heroes like Jeb Bush and John Kasich, turning their beloved party into a stinking mess.

Now these well-meaning, good Americans find themselves stranded in political no-man’s-land. They can’t bring themselves to become full blown Democrats. They loathe Trump Republicans. But there is no viable third way. And so they’ve become political pundits out to get the guy who trashed their nascent movement. Their road to exile was paved with good intentions, but inadvertently they helped lead the nation into its current state of Trumpian hell.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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