By William Saletan
On Monday, Sen. John McCain denounced President Trump’s philosophy, agenda, and conduct. On Thursday, former President George W. Bush did the same thing. Neither mentioned Trump by name, but their target was clear. They echoed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spoke out against Trump last year. These three indictments, issued by the men who represented the GOP in the four elections leading up to Trump’s, are more than ghosts of a dead party. They point toward an alternative vision of conservatism.
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You don’t have to love Bush, McCain, or Romney to heed their words. You don’t even have to be Republican. Maybe you think that the Iraq war was worse than anything Trump has done, or that McCain is a blowhard, or that Romney is a hypocrite for sucking up after Trump was elected. But there’s going to be a conservative party in this country, and some kinds of conservatism are better than others. At its best, conservatism stands for morality and freedom. Trump stands for neither. We’ll be a better country if our conservative party listens to Bush, McCain, and Romney, not to Trump.