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Interactions of the Factions

by Michael Brendan Dougherty

Purist political beliefs are good for debating but bad for governing

Truman Capote’s great unfinished novel was called “Answered Prayers,” after a saying from Saint Teresa of Ávila: More tears are shed for answered prayers than for unanswered ones. I think she had the trials of God’s friendship in mind, but this lovely, pious saying now makes me think of Donald Trump. Getting what you want from politics is the worst thing that can be inflicted on an opinion journalist. Especially when you don’t expect it.

Factionalism on the American right is probably a political handicap for the Republican party but an intellectual boon for conservatives. The clash of neoconservatives, paleos, supply-siders, and libertarians keeps us sharp, I hope. It forces us to articulate and defend our views. Unfortunately, sometimes a president comes along and road-tests those views for us.

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