Serious Conservative Junior League Person of the Year (1998), Ross "Chunky Bobo" Douthat woke up yesterday to find that some fiend had stolen that pillowcase full of emergency backup True Conservatism he keeps under his bed and replaced it with ten pounds of shit.
Thing is, if he had bothered to check the freshness date on his bag of emergency backup True Conservatism he would have noticed that it has been full of shit since the 1980s. But like Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind, Mr. Douthat does not think about thinks that he does not think about.
The Defeat of True Conservatism...Now, after knocking Ted Cruz out of the race with a sweeping win in Indiana, Trump has beaten a second theory of where the G.O.P. needs to go from here: a theory you might call True Conservatism....But it turned out that Republican voters didn’t want True Conservatism any more than they wanted Bushism 2.0. Maybe they would have wanted it from a candidate with more charisma and charm and less dogged unlikability. But the entire Trump phenomenon suggests otherwise, and Trump as the presumptive nominee is basically a long proof against the True Conservative theory of the Republican Party.Trump proved that movement conservative ideas and litmus tests don’t really have any purchase on millions of Republican voters. Again and again, Cruz and the other G.O.P. candidates stressed that Trump wasn’t really a conservative; they listed his heresies, cataloged his deviations, dug up his barely buried liberal past. No doubt this case resonated with many Republicans. But not with nearly enough of them to make Cruz the nominee.Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all...Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control...Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part. From Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour to talk radio to the ranks of lesser pundits, a long list of people who should have been all-in for Cruz on ideological grounds either flirted with Trump, affected neutrality or threw down their cloaks for the Donald to stomp over to the nomination. Cruz thought he would have a movement behind him, but part of that movement was actually a racket...
So True Conservatism was never more than a public signifier -- just another a club tie or flag pin -- representing a fairy tale which virtually no one on the Right actually believed and whose purveyors were never more than con men running a long and profitable scam.
In other words -- in the words that Mr. Douthat dares not frame his mouth to utter -- the Left has been right about the Right all along.