No One Likes A Sore Loser — Especially When They’re A Politician

Scott Greer Contributor
Font Size:

Imagine if a football coach spent the entire week leading up to a heated rivalry match talking smack about the opposing team — and that opposing team won by a landslide. But instead of showing any kind of sportsmanship, the coach refused to shake hands with the victors and gave a whiny post-game press conference declaring his opponents cheaters.

This scenario is not too far off from what Jeb Bush is doing now in his ongoing feud with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. Even though Trump has dominated the polls for months and many Republican voters see him as a credible candidate, Bush has been emphatic in saying the flamboyant billionaire just isn’t serious and won’t win the nomination.

Meanwhile, the former Florida governor’s standing in the polls has plummeted and nobody outside his campaign thinks he has any real shot at winning the White House. In a possible admission that his presidential ambitions have been dashed into the ground, Bush’s camp is now considering reneging on his pledge to support Trump if the mogul becomes the party nominee. (RELATED: Jeb Refuses To Back Trump Over Clinton In CNN Interview)

In other words, Jeb wants to declare himself a whiny, entitled politician who believes he knows better than the Republican electorate.

Despite the pledge being created by the Republican National Committee solely for pressuring The Donald into not running third party if he loses the primary, it now appears it may be his opponents who need to remember the promise.

Besides Bush, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki have also made statements that indicate they won’t support Trump if he wins the nomination — and they’re could be more White House hopefuls alluding to reneging if the mogul looks poised to win.

The stated reason for why these candidates may reverse their decision is to make a principled stand against the evils of a Trump candidacy. But while they may aspire to noble virtues in reneging, to most voters these men will look like sore losers. The non-endorsements of Bush and others will mean little in the grand scheme of things and will probably not deter any potential supporter of a Trump ticket.

Sadly, Bush’s willingness to look like a bad sportsman is an attitude shared by many Republicans and conservatives left disgruntled by Trump-mentum. After months of wrong predictions and hyperbolic hit-pieces, it’s starting to dawn on Donald-haters that nothing they’ve done so far has stopped the front-runner’s climb.

That has fractured an important element in conservative self-esteem: the feeling of being in control. Unlike leftists who love to imagine themselves as eternal rebels, conservatives like to see themselves as tough guy elites. Just remember how Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush portrayed themselves in contrast to how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton portray themselves.

In reality, it’s the left-wing phony rebels who are in charge, not the right-wing poser elites. (RELATED: The Phony Rebels In Charge)

The people who hold sway over our culture, our universities and even our military primarily hew to the Left. The most powerful people in this country identify with liberal values and do as much as they can to promote them.

Remember how nearly every corporation changed their logo to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage? That’s left-wing power in action.

Conservatives being excluded from the reins of power presents a serious conundrum for these upholders of tradition. Conservatives value institutions and typically side with authority — at least when it comes to the non-libertarians — out of the desire to conserve the traditional foundations of society. But what are conservatives trying to conserve if all the institutions they love are used to promote radical cultural transformation?

While social institutions may be out of their hands, there is one thing they can claim control of and one other thing they exert influence over. That’s the conservative movement and the Republican Party, respectively.

As society has drifted away from the organized Right, the scions of conservatism have solidified their control of dozens of think tanks, media outlets and advocacy groups to advance their cause. Within the movement, and to a lesser extent in the GOP, they have been able to exclude those individuals and groups they deem “un-conservative” and disreputable.

For example, the fabled story of William F. Buckley casting out the John Birch Society of polite right-wing society for its extreme views. (In reality, it was for the group’s lack of enthusiasm for the Vietnam war.)

The reason why Donald Trump has gotten under the skin of so many conservatives and Republicans is that for all of their vitriol and denunciations, they seem powerless to do anything about him. He has singlehandedly invalidated the sway of the conservative movement and the Republican establishment, laughing off their attempts to purge him and his followers.

Faced with the sobering possibility that they are sorely out of touch with Middle America and the horrifying thought of a Trump presidency, folks like Jeb Bush have decided its better to be vindictive losers than to join in the populist-nationalist wave.

Or, as they perceive it, to cast themselves as courageous dissidents in the vein of Nazi resisters like Martin Niemöller and Sophie Scholl.

Establishment conservatives are slowly coming to grips with the fact that they don’t have any real power and would prefer to grandstand on behalf of “true” conservative principles, regardless of the terrible cost of continually being invited on CNN and MSNBC to speak about it.

But to everyone not involved in political circles in the Beltway and Manhattan, these pundits and politicians look more like scorned lovers, filled to the gills with resentment, than principled believers.

Following in the footsteps of Buckley, many on the Right have liked to affect aristocratic airs and pretend they’re the heirs to some fabled caste of nobility.

But one of the defining features of aristocrats is their magnanimity and lack of bitter resentment. They are the elite, not the bullied. They are not going to whine when they are losing or bemoan how much their opponents hurt their feelings. They’re not passive-aggressive, spiteful, thin-skinned creatures.

To put it plainly, genuine aristocrats do not resemble Jeb Bush or George Will.

Maybe there’s a reason Republican voters are choosing the brash mogul over the “low-energy” governor. They’ve had enough of conservatives pretending to be tough guys in charge and getting brow-beaten by the Left.

They want a leader who will do the bullying instead.

Follow Scott on Twitter