Jennifer Rubin: If only a few Republicans had led… – The Washington Post

From our vantage point, a post-Trump conservative party will need to repudiate the institutional conduct of the RNC, Trump and his backers. In simplest terms it will need to restore virtue and character as the fundamental prerequisites of public leadership. It will be more difficult because having nominated Trump, the GOP and the country will have reset our tolerance for moral and intellectual sloth. (Ramesh Ponnuru writes: “If we elevate a man we know to be cruel, impulsive, insecure, vain and dishonest to the most powerful position in our country, that choice helps to define our own character and shape our expectations for one another.”)

Several years ago Peter Wehner wrote:

The task of modern American conservatism is to sketch out a vision of the kind of citizens we hope to produce: citizens who are self-sufficient, sovereign, discerning, and responsible. We need to promote policies that encourage success, enterprise, and human excellence. This is another way of saying that what conservatives should be championing is self-government. If done in the right way — in a manner that is uplifting rather than preachy, affirming rather than scolding — it can help rally an anxious country to an admirable cause.

Are there such leaders out there who will promote and not undermine those qualities, who, while flawed like all of us, will aspire to be better? Perhaps we will need to look beyond the political realm to the military, philanthropy, education and the sciences to find leaders with a reliable moral compass. We cannot be great if our leaders intentionally reject the real values that are critical to a functioning democracy — decency, tolerance, kindness, restraint, empathy and rationality.

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