Posted on April 20, 2021
Kristi In Crisis
But what if Trump had done it?
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem had been the face of the of the Republican Party's future, until she went wobbly on a bill to prohibit boys from participating in girls' sports, thereby demonstrating her unreliability. At least that has been the accepted narrative, as told by alleged conservatives.
Although she had encouraged her state legislature to pass such a ban, Noem had second thoughts after consulting her lawyers, and returned the bill with a request that it be revised and resubmitted. The NCAA has recently endorsed the idea of "biological males" -- which is the lunatic-approved term for men and boys -- competing in women's and girls' sports. Noem was advised that if the NCAA sued the state of South Dakota over the measure, it would likely prevail, thus nullifying the ban altogether. In response, she is asking to have the bill broken into two separate initiatives, one banning men from competing in women's college sports, and the other forbidding boys from competing in girls' sports in public schools. That way, the prohibition for grades K-12 would remain standing even if the one at the collegiate level were struck down.
So Noem's great betrayal consists of a tactical retreat on one issue, so that she may take a more incremental approach that she believes would stand a better chance of succeeding. For this, Michael Farris of the Alliance Defending Freedom declared, "She was considered a shining star in the GOP with a bright future. No more." Columnist Jordan Davidson of The Federalist called her "cowardly," and dismissed her as "a worthless standard-bearer." Kurt Schlichter of Townhall wrote, "Her best case is that she was dumb instead of squishy." As if that criticism weren't unjustified enough, he went on to liken her to Jeb Bush.
Okay, so these critics have good reason to be disappointed in Noem's decision, and maybe she's wrong. Maybe she should have signed the bill as it was written, and taken the repercussions as they came. Still, her decision is hardly tantamount to political suicide. The suggestion that it is reveals a fickleness among her detractors that is unjustifiable, in light of their unshakeable allegiance to Donald Trump.
The point of this column is not to disparage the former president, who himself has had nothing but kind words for Gov. Noem. It needs to be asked of the Trumpies who are now condemning Noem, however, which of these two politicians is a more consistent adherent to a conservative political ideology, and which one is less likely to cave in when challenged. After all, it was not Kristi Noem who tweeted "Tariffs are great!", voiced support for "red flag" gun control laws, signed a law springing high-level drug dealers from prison, proposed to stimulate the economy with $2 trillion in needless deficit spending, and invited the Taliban to Camp David on the week of 9/11. Nor was it she who let the Turks order American forces out of Syria, instigated a government shutdown only to relent without getting the desired border wall funding, backed off a threat to shut down TikTok, claimed the authority to unilaterally repeal the states' COVID shutdown measures but declined to exercise it, and repeatedly hurled hollow barrels of bellicosity at Iran and North Korea.
Had Trump made a decision like the one that Noem made, there's no way that nominally conservative think tanks and publications would portray it as a surrender. Instead, the story would be that Trump knows how to win. The eleventeen-dimensional chess grand master is several moves ahead of the opposition, as always. He doesn't back away; he rope-a-dopes. He never gives up; it's just that most of his cunning schemes have yet to come to fruition.
Not only would Trump have baited his trap for the bad guys, but by appearing to make a concession, he would have cleverly peeled off part of the Democrat voting base by making an appeal to the QWERTYUIOP community. It isn't possible for Trump to commit ideological heresy, because the ideology changes right along with him.' Rather than acknowledge that he's not a conservative, his acolytes credit him with having caused a political realignment by transforming the conservative movement, as if that had been a desirable thing in the first place.
Loathe as some people may be to admit it, Donald Trump will not always be able to run for president. If they are determined to destroy every other credible candidate based on the slenderest of premises, they might as well start ordering those "Jeb!" yard signs right now.
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press