Reprinted from The Hill
In a column in July 2015 titled "The GOP Frankenstein," I quoted Rick Perry as describing Donald Trump as a cancer on conservatism. Almost a year later, the GOP Frankenstein continues on a rampage, and the cancer metastasizes with every new Trump comment -- comments so vile that even House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) describes them as textbook racism.
The profile in courage demonstrated by Perry's honest and accurate description of Trump has become a profile in cowardice and convenience, as Perry and Ryan, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and other conservatives and Republicans, put party ahead of country, and convenience ahead of principle, and fall in line supporting Trump for president with different degrees of enthusiasm but equal degrees of shame.
If they were with us today, which sadly they are not in body or spirit, conservative icons Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Barry Goldwater would unequivocally oppose Donald Trump for president and commander in chief.
It is a cancer on conservatism to align conservatism with racism or bigotry against any group. Why can't Ryan and Rubio, who call themselves principled conservatives inspired by Kemp, understand that he would have angrily denounced and aggressively opposed any candidate who spews racist words about Hispanics or any group?
While retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus warns in The Washington Post that politicians who foment bigotry and employ hate speech against Muslims endanger our nation and help genocidal terrorists who seek to kill us, it is a cancer on conservatism for Trump, an ignoramus on national security who is vehemently opposed by a long list of conservative national security experts, to employ these tactics in his politics of fear and hate.
It is a cancer on fiscal conservatism for Trump to suggest that the United States does not have to pay its debts, that the full faith and credit of the United States can be discarded like an old shoe, and to suggest -- inaccurately -- that the president can just print more money. Why can't Ryan, McConnell, Rubio, Ayotte and all conservatives understand that William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman clearly would have considered this view economic heresy that would trigger another financial meltdown if executed by an economically incompetent president?
It is a cancer on conservatism that Trump has more in common with the Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev, who built a wall to protect communism, than Reagan, who challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall to promote freedom.
Winston Churchill did not defeat Nazis by praising murderous dictators, dividing his people against one another and telling them they should cower in fear, as Trump does in his daily defamations against conservatism and Americanism.
It is a cancer on conservatism for any believer in free enterprise to praise Trump's business practices, which major investigative reports document have reaped huge personal profits through bankruptcies, a pseudo-university widely accused of fraud, failed businesses that have destroyed value for shareholders and bondholders and deadbeat tactics that have put contractors out of business and workers out of jobs.
While George Washington said he could never tell a lie and Abraham Lincoln was labeled Honest Abe, it is a cancer on conservatism to support a nominee who was identified as liar of the year by a leading fact-checker in 2015.
While Reagan embodied a conservatism of principle and civility, it is a cancer on conservatism for the shape-shifting Trump to suggest President Obama may secretly want terrorists to attack America, to suggest the father of a conservative opponent may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination and to ridicule the heroism of American prisoners of war.
Conservatives might consider that when a patient's life is threatened by a metastasizing cancer, the doctor removes it with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy -- he does not support the cancer and promise it will behave better after the patient is dead.