I Feel Sorry for Tomi Lahren

Like all serious conservatives, of course I want this Tomi Lahren charade to conclude, but my motivation is sheer pity.

I know she’s a grown woman who is entirely capable of making her own decisions and exercising her own judgment, but I can’t help it.

I know she both thoroughly humiliated her former employer and persistently thrives on unnecessary polarization, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

I know her invective is intentionally caustic, her style purposefully provocative, but this problem still eats at me: I feel bad for Tomi Lahren.

And yes, I know she doesn’t “deserve” my sympathy – particularly as someone who believes in conservative principles. Lahren is unquestionably doing immense damage to the credibility of a political philosophy that I think is critical for the survival of our civilization. She and others have hijacked the movement of Burke, Kirk, Buckley, Goldwater, Limbaugh, Goldberg, and Shapiro – thinkers who used their profound gifts to illuminate the power of conservative ideas – and turned it into an unpersuasive sideshow of angry voices, personal branding, and self-promotion.

When young people, millennials and Gen-Zers specifically, think of conservatism, they won’t think of the calm, reasoned opinions of Charles Krauthammer. They will think of Tomi’s finger-pointing, head-shifting, tongue-lashing “Final Thoughts.” Things like her most recent contribution:

Pressing for a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would be a big mistake…We lose when we start messing with social issues…Even if conservatives decide to go for the Roe v. Wade jugular, it’s unlikely to succeed. Legal tradition makes it harder to overturn a past decision - unless there are strong grounds for doing so.

And a departure from precedent like Roe - which has since been upheld by other cases - is even harder to come by. During his hearing, Justice Gorsuch made a point of noting the decision had already been reaffirmed several times.

Do we really want to fight for this, alienate Democrats, moderates, and libertarians, all to lose in the end anyway? That’s a risk I don’t think is worth taking.

I’m saying this as someone who would personally choose life, but also feels it’s not the government’s place to dictate.

I once assumed that someone most likely wrote Tomi’s thoughts for her; now I’m fairly convinced that’s not the case. Please don’t mistake that as a compliment. This is a jumbled embarrassment of self-contradiction, ethical ambiguity, and moral relativism.

  • Self-Contradiction: Lahren suggests that conservatives lose when we “start messing” with social issues rather than concentrating on economic policies along. Yet, in one recent two-minute Final Thoughts segment alone, Tomi “started messing” with the following social issues: feminism, Women’s March, transgenderism, gender fluidity, American flag respect, national anthem kneeling, the War on Christmas.
  • Ethical Ambiguity: Lahren actually laments the prospect of alienating Democrats and moderates by undoing an ethical and constitutional travesty. But it’s no exaggeration to say she owes her entire career to the notoriety she built by mocking and alienating Democrat and moderate “snowflakes.” Alienation for personal gain is permissible, alienation for constitutional fidelity and moral rectitude is not?
  • Moral Relativism: After being properly excoriated by legitimate conservatives for espousing the non-sensical “personally opposed to abortion but government shouldn’t dictate” canard (a stance as morally courageous as “I’m personally opposed to slavery but government shouldn’t dictate), Lahren mindlessly doubled down:

“I don’t believe government regulation accomplishes [protecting human life].”

This isn’t just confused thinking. It’s non-thinking. It’s arresting ignorance. Government doesn’t protect human life? That’s fundamentally the government’s one, indisputable, unarguable responsibility – protect people’s lives, liberty, and property. Suggesting that government shouldn’t (or can’t) do that is heart-stoppingly dense and is tantamount to calling for the repeal of all laws against murder, manslaughter, and everything in between.

Still, despite all of that, as much as I want to be angry with Tomi Lahren for the mockery she continues to make of genuine conservatism, I just keep realizing that this young woman is completely out of her league and most likely knows it. She reminds me so much of many of the high school students I teach every year – extremely passionate and idealistic, desirous of fame, but whose intellectual maturity and logical temperament have not yet caught up. It’s why after her first abortion-related spectacle she created on The View several months ago, I publicly begged her: “take some time away from the camera, read and learn what conservatism is, and decide if that’s what you are or what you want to be.”

But before anything like that could happen, Fox News scooped her up and thrust her in front of another camera, behind another microphone. She’s making headlines, she’s making money, but my best guess is she is completely lost, frighteningly insecure, totally overwhelmed, and supremely lonely.

Yes, like all serious conservatives, of course I want this Tomi Lahren charade to conclude. But that desire for me is truly not born resentment or even annoyance, but out of sheer pity.

No. 1-25

@Jules, what you espouse is fair....but I think you are conflating conservatism with the Republican Party. The former is an ideology; the latter is more a grouping of like-minded individuals. So, what you espouse is better suited for inclusion under the ‘Republican’ tent. For instance, the GOP already has Log Cabin Republicans; individuals favoring abortion rights; individuals favoring a larger federal role in some areas, like the environment; etc. And, yes, the GOP also includes conservatives. But, the two are not the same.

Please note: I come at this as a long-time conservative. I also understand that in this day and age where everyone wants to self-identify, people feel comfortable labeling themselves as they see fit. But, I bristle when I hear every congressman and senator with an ‘R’ behind their name self-identify as a conservative. It is a by-product of the Reagan mystique, and wanting to have that mystique rub off on them by association. But, it just ain’t so. It’s no different than some man who wants to pretend that he’s a woman. All the pretending and self-identification in the world won’t change his nature; it won’t turn his Y chromosome into another X chromosome.

George W. Bush’s running as a ‘compassionate’ conservative is a perfect example. His ‘compassionate’ qualifier was the first clue that he was NOT a true conservative. (It was an admission that he believed ‘regular’ conservatives were not compassionate if we didn’t want to force others through spending and taxation to support our pet causes.) Those like him end up twisting their policies into pretzel logic (hat tip to Steely Dan) in an effort to appeal to a broader electorate while trying to retain the committed ardor and zeal of the conservative base. And, in the end we conservatives end up with a distasteful pablum fare void of any tethers to true conservatism (in GWB’s case, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, EPA run amok, etc.).

No, what you describe is the ‘Republican tent’. And, I am all in favor of that being as inclusive there as possible (within some limits). In fact, you have hit the nail on the head of a particular gripe many conservatives like me have with some of our fellow conservatives. And, on this point, I would agree with you. To wit, we need to be more pragmatic when it comes to primary elections. I understand conservatives’ desire to elect a like-minded individual to office, and therefore to have a conservative be the GOP standard-bearer facing off against a Democrat. But, in deep blue states (e.g. Massachusetts), the likelihood of a conservative beating a Dem is wishful thinking. And, conservatives need to face those facts in primary battles.

(In fact, I would argue the odds are overwhelming that most Republicans who emerge from the Northeast are going to be what we used to call Rockefeller Republicans. And, the GOP -- and the conservative agenda by extension -- is far better served with those of that ilk winning and governing from those states than having a genuine conservative being defeated in them. It’s the old Buckley advice: support the most conservative individual that can win the general election. The presidency, on the other hand, is, in my opinion, a far different matter.)

But, conservatism is not a pliable ideology that bends at will to temporal mores. It cannot be if it is going to mean anything at all. So, while I would agree with you that the ‘Republican’ tent can include those of many different stripes, I take issue with redefining conservatism as something where the defining quality is merely adherence to the original intent of the Constitution or a broad belief in limited government, and all else is secondary. That’s my point.

Thanks for the exchange.


@Jules* When you look at the polling data.

Most people agree with the GOP on financial issues. Most people agree with the Dems on social issues.

But there are only two parties, so you always compromise on something. My #1 priority used to be less spending, lower taxes. However, the GOP seems to have abandoned that. So until I have someone I can vote for on that basis, I'm voting environment.

After being on evac alert for wildfires three times in the last two years, I started taking it a lot more seriously. The fire department tax is one I don't mind paying.


@TNTX , I speak purely from a political and pragmatic point of view. While I share the same general ISSUES and VALUES of the conservatives I know, I also see conservatism shooting itself in the foot by setting up a maze of social, spiritual and emotional criteria and then telling people they have to agree with them to vote for a conservative. That seems foolish and shortsighted to me. Nearly every Liberal I have ever approached with my definition of conservative has agreed with that blueprint for governance, but we tell them “it’s our way, all the way, or you’re not welcome over here", so they go vote Dem.. We might not agree with the ISSUES they value, and we might not think their values are as great as ours, but we stand a much better chance of achieving a stronger government if we welcome them into a Big Tent of government, of pure POLITICAL philosophy, to get our federal government under control and get those ISSUES back into state authority, where they belong.

Jules* said: Creating an agency and investing it with nearly unlimited power and no oversight are not the same thing. Nixon stretched the Constitution a little, though perhaps an argument could be made that protecting our natural resources is covered in the delegated duties of the federal government. Expanding the scope and authority of this agency and giving it the power to determine, on its own, without reference to Congress, anything it deems to be a "pollutant", without even demanding things like scientific review, and then being allowed to write and implement regulations to address these determinations, without any involvement by Congress, is what happened under Clinton, though an Executive Order. @ethcwasps, you ignored politics in favor of feelings. I think your position on that Higher Moral Ground would be a lot shakier if your delicacy had helped put Hillary in the White House. But I'm happy for you that you feel so proud of yourself for it. I doubt that @Paul C ever voted Republican. I hear this nonsense all the time from Lefties who think they are making a point by claiming they USED to be such and such but were driven away by so and so. The moron/vet tried this, too. It's a tired old tactic, transparent and foolish. @[Paul C] doesn't even understand that "leftism" is an actual word that is an actual definition for an actual political system. He sees people using that word but he knows better, they don't fool him, no sirree. They are just weird. @John R started off OK but then ran off the rails when he lurched over into defining political ideology by issues and social values: " It's the extent and specific issues that differentiate among them. Some are socially conservative. Some fiscally so. Some both." If someone rejects collectivism and a powerful central authority and wants more power left to the states and to the people, he is a conservative, even if he has purple hair, is married to his boyfriend, belongs to Greenpeace and thinks welfare is wonderful. If he thinks any of these ISSUES belong at the federal level, he is not. I, for example, am a conservative. I firmly believe that the proper blueprint for governing the country is that laid out in the Constitution: a federal government severely restricted as to size, scope and power, with most authority left to the states. Some of my ISSUES would probably be considered pretty liberal (though not Liberal and certainly not Progressive) but because I think they have to be settled at the state level, as explained in the 10th Amendment, I am a political conservative. In its most simplistic form, the true differentiation between Conservative and Progressive is not necessarily the ISSUES, but the conviction of which arena is the proper one for ruling on them. So you can be for a single government payer for health care costs, if you think this is an ISSUE that has to be decided at the state level.

"If someone rejects collectivism and a powerful central authority and wants more power left to the states and to the people, he is a conservative, even if he has purple hair, is married to his boyfriend, belongs to Greenpeace and thinks welfare is wonderful. If he thinks any of these ISSUES belong at the federal level, he is not. "

That is just not accurate. What you describe there is a constitionalist. All conservatives are constitionalists, but not all constitionalists are conservatives. Read Russell Kirk's "A Conservative Mind". That best describes the conservative ideology.

To quote Kirk: "Therefore it is of importance to know whereof one speaks, and not to mistake the American conservative impulse for some narrow and impractical ideology. If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall go forth to battle? For intellectual development, the first necessity is to define one's terms. If we can enlarge the understanding of conservatism's first principles, we will have begun a reinvigoration of the conservative imagination. The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal."


She's just insufferable, but attractive. I can only assume she has slept her way into our lives because there's no reason someone this young and unpolished to have any place on TV. Much more suited for the Instagram where the selfish generation spends most of their time these days.