Not Scott

You could do worse than the South Carolina senator, but do you really want “a George W. Bush-style conservative” in 2024? The post Not Scott appeared first on The American Conservative.

Tim Scott is not the culprit.

The Palmetto State Senator is not what the Republican Party or the country needs right now. Whether it’s a break from Trump’s populist revival or a continuation, another visionary or a pragmatic administrator, another disruptor, or a steady, calm hand, the Palmetto State Senator is not who they need.

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But the donor class appears to believe so. It is safe to say after a chaotic, and mostly embarrassing, few weeks that Ron DeSantis will crash and burn. He has admitted that he is in need of a total and complete reset. However, he still hasn’t accepted that this is not possible during a political campaign. It is only a matter of time before he realizes that he is done.

The majority of people will not wait for this to happen. Many of the GOP’s power players with big money are leaving the DeSantis campaign, as was widely reported this week. From this day on, every dollar spent by Ron is a wasted dollar.

Scott is not the obvious choice. Mike Pence is a much more well-known name and has a much better non-Trump reputation. Nikki Haley’s a woman. They weren’t chosen. Scott’s campaign is awash with cash. He is the only candidate who has booked more ad space than any other in this race.

Ross Douthat, the New York Times‘s token right-leaning columnist, sees the logic in the idea.

Scott has a clear advantage over DeSantis, and that is the fundamental cheeriness that Americans look for in their presidents. Also, he has the profile of an effective general-election contender. He is an African American who appears youthful and generic Republican. This will be a good contrast to Joe Biden’s ageing. Scott is the perfect candidate for the Republican donor classes. He’s a George W. Bush style conservative, untouched by the edgelord memes and rabble rousing of Trump era populism.

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You could do worse than Tim Scott. He might be able to make it through a general election, unlike DeSantis.

Douthat’s claim that Scott was untouched by Trumpian populism isn’t quite true. Scott has shown himself to be willing to join the former president in a number key moments. Tim Scott is too Trumpy for the bleeding-heart voters that DeSantis’ exiles are hoping to convert. He is unclean, not only because of his past associations but also due to a persistent unwillingness to separate himself from the standard bearer.

Douthat’s assessment of Scott as “a George W. Bush style conservative” is accurate. But what does this mean exactly?

For the readers of an magazine created to counter W.’s adventurism it means he is woefully incompetent when it comes to war and peace. Scott is particularly eager for war with Iran. This would be a battle that could reopen the worst geopolitical injuries of this century.

Scott can talk about America First Republicanism when it comes to China, an actual rival, if not a direct threat. The record shows a man who is more than willing, and even eager to serve globalized capitalism. This may be against the best interests of the nation and its people.

Scott’s entrepreneurial spirit is admirable when it comes to economics. It’s a cousin, not so distant, of the ethos which made this country great. The corrupt branch of this tradition is what has turned the spirit of independence to the ideology of capitalism that the senator swears by.

Scott, like many of those who are the most vocal defenders against the dead consensus is a Christian. He’s a Christian in the public eye and he shows it. He is not responsible for the missteps made by his church-fellow Nancy Mace. He can be questioned about his lack of Christian convictions, which go beyond his objections to child slaughter or sacralized homosexuality.

Many of the senators supporters seem to hope that he will be what Obama wasn’t: not so much as a reconciler, but reconciliation itself, and a liturgical closure of darker chapters in our past. It is surprising how close Scott’s views on race are to those held by the extreme left. He has repeatedly rebuked the party he belongs to and formed alliances with radicals like Kamala Harris. He has even aligned with Harris to smear DeSantis for his efforts to teach accurate history in Florida schools. Scott is closer to the politician Obama used to be in this instance than the one that he was not.

It is not the America that America needs. Just as it wasn’t in 2008. We need restoration, a president that will bring the U.S. out of the gutter and advocate for wisdom and prudence on the world stage; a leader who will enforce order in our streets and vigilantes at our borders. We need at least the shadow of that political force which was missing from American life between the Nixon assassination and the golden escalator. We need to have a faint hope that the ways and values of ten generations will not disappear when we are gone.

Donald Trump is the only person I know who can fill this role on the national scene. It could be someone else. I might be wrong. But I’m sure it’s not Tim Scott.

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