Today we open a Major American Newspaper to find a column in which the author...
...praises Mona Charen's media-profile-raising exercise at CPAC where she boldly scolded the most recent and rancid fruit of the Poison Conservative Tree while pretending that the Poison Conservative Tree itself did not exist.
For my money, the best op-ed published in The Times this week was Mona Charen’s Feb. 25 barn-burner, “I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC.” Charen is a movement conservative who worked for Nancy and Ronald Reagan and is a longtime contributor to National Review. One of her books is titled “Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help.” A Bernie Sanders progressive she is not.But Charen is also a NeverTrumper who chose to speak her mind during a panel discussion on the #MeToo movement at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference...
...delivers the standard Beltway disclaimer that what is happening with the Republican Party is somehow not Republicanism, but an inexplicable freak of nature called Trumpism.
When Trumpism fails, as it inevitably will, who will be the Republican Adenauer?
...celebrates himself and the rest of the so-called NeverTrumpers as the vanguard of a daring-if-outcast cohort of future saviors of the Right...
NeverTrumpers haunt the conservative movement the way Polish or Czech dissident intellectuals such as Czeslaw Milosz and Vaclav Havel haunted that segment of Central European intelligentsia that made its peace with Stalinism after World War II.The Trumpers (and Stalinists) traded conscience for power; the NeverTrumpers and dissidents chose the reverse. Conscience can be made to suffer, but in the end it usually wins.
That’s why NeverTrumpers matter; why the Trumpers know they matter (which they prove every time they feverishly assert the opposite); and why progressives who dismiss NeverTrumpers as politically irrelevant are wrong.
...and, inevitably, unsheaths the Mighty Cudgel of Both Siderism to take a big 'ol whack at Those Damn, Dirty Liberals:
I write this as a parallel contest is taking shape within the Democratic Party, most visibly in the rift between traditional liberals and the social-justice warriors of what used to be the far left. Dianne Feinstein’s failure this week to claim her party’s nomination for the Senate seat she’s held since 1992 is another depressing indication that the rift is widening.One side believes in the power of reason, the possibility of persuasion, and the values of the Enlightenment. It champions social solidarity for the sake of empowering the individual, rather than creating a society of conformists. It doesn’t see compromise as a dirty word. Its belief in the benefits of civility and diversity does not override its commitment to free speech and independent thought.
As for the other side, it thinks it knows what’s True. It considers compromise knavish. It views debate — beyond its own tightly set parameters — as either pointless or dangerous. And while it sees itself as the antithesis of Trumpism, it is, in its raging intolerance and smug self-satisfaction, Trumpism’s mirror image...
And there is one and only one thing I find compelling about this column -- how absolutely depressingly predictable (and predicted) every single Conservative reaction has all been at every step along the way to this moment. How quickly and completely the Beltway has ritualized its new dogma on the subject of our fucked-up politics. How the blueprint for Both Siderist op-eds has now become so standardized that when you strip it of its byline and a few verbal tics, this slab of indifferent True Conservative alibi-mongering is so flawlessly generic that it is nearly impossible to guess who wrote it.
Did David Brooks write the dreck you just read? Or was it Arthur Brooks? Or was it Michael Gerson? Joe Scarborough? Andrew Sullivan? Kathleen Parker? David Frum? Was it George Will? Ross Douthat? Bret Stephens? Rick Wilson? Steve Schmidt? Peggy Noonan? Charlie Sykes? Bill Kristol?
Shall I go on?
Because that is the point. That far from "taking some chances" and "recruiting voices that are new to The Times and publishing pieces that press against our traditional boundaries" (to single out James Bennet, editorial-page editor of The New York Times) the gatekeepers of our public discourse have instead created a clone army of Conservative Havers-of-Opinions whose writing about what the actual fuck has happened to the Republican Party they have served their entire adult lives is so anodyne and doctrinaire and full of shit that it all blends together into single, continuous drone of aristocratic self-exculpation.
Because this is a Club.
And you and I are not in it.
Behold, a Tip Jar!