(Libertarian-for-hire and Nick-Gillespie-fashion-stunt-double, Liz Mair)
It turns out that while Carl Sagan's parable of two antagonists, each with a fistful of matches, in a locked room awash with gasoline --
-- might have been an accurate and memorable way to describe the need for nuclear arms control during the Cold War, it doesn't work at all when it comes to modern American politics.
Because in modern American politics it turns out that while there are indeed two antagonists stuck together in a locked room awash with gasoline, one of the antagonists -- the Republican Party -- actually wants to burn the building down.
In fact, they spend all their political and media power to flick lit matches into corners filled with terrified women and children. With migrants and minorities. With the old and the infirm. With our most stalwart allies and with our constitution.
And they laugh about it. Let that sink in.
They laugh about the Republican traitor they installed in the White House and the Republican Quislings in congress who enable him. Laugh about at the lunatics they're packing the courts with. Roar with laughter at babies in cages and a planet slowly being boiled into uninhabitablity.
And most especially they laugh at our Liberal tears as as we dart around with our puny fire extinguisher as fast as we can trying to put out every lit match every time.
And squatting on the stairs, kibitzing as if none of this has anything to do with them, is where you will find the Centrists. The Beltway Both Siderists. And most Never Trumpers. They usually occupy themselves by carping about civility and making up lists of how many concessions to the arsonist we on the Left will need to make if we want to win their Sensible Centrist hearts.
Today that role will be played by Ms. Liz Mair, who has spent her career working hard to get the worst people in American politics elected --
Liz Mair, who was a strategist for campaigns by Scott Walker, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry, is the founder and president of Mair Strategies.-- and has been mentioned unfavorably on this blog once or twice ("The Loyalty of Hungry Dogs").
And, as it happens, was inexplicably handed a New York Times op-ed column this week. And after more-or-less confirming most of my opinions about the Never Trump "movement"
Has Republican Resistance to Trump Collapsed?-- Ms. Mair laid down the terms under which Never Trumpers like her would ever consider holding her nose and voting for a (sob!) Democrat (with emphasis added):
William Weld has offered a glimmer of hope to NeverTrumpers. But many Republicans once opposed to the president are jumping on his 2020 bandwagon.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who was seen as a ringleader of an effort to block Mr. Trump’s nomination at the 2016 convention, will also help the president. He and Mr. Erickson both voted for the independent candidate Evan McMullin, and they are far from alone in now supporting President Trump.
The bottom line for people like Mr. Erickson is this: Mr. Trump has terrible character flaws and has eroded norms and worsened our system of government. But Democrats seem to have responded to the election of Mr. Trump not by pushing forward sensible, moderate candidates who understand the fundamentals of government and policy but rather far-left legislators in Congress (like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib) and policy like the late-term-abortion laws in Virginia and New York.
Mr. Trump may be a nutter with bad-to-nonexistent morals and ideas, but he has at least succeeded on policy goals that are important to people like Mr. Erickson. In his column, he noted that President Trump had “delivered on tax reform” as well as “regulatory rollbacks,” “undermining Obamacare” and “solid executive appointments, including to the judiciary.”
For the Democratic Party to have its best shot at retaking the White House, by grabbing not just swing voters in places like the Midwest but also some disillusioned Republican voters wherever it can, perhaps helping it win somewhere like Arizona, it needs to nominate someone at least perceived as more moderate than your average House Democrat and more levelheaded than the hate-tweet-happy Mr. Trump. It probably means its safest choice is Joe Biden, or if he doesn’t run, maybe Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., or Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana.
If the Democratic Party can play it smart like that, NeverTrumpers might count for something this election cycle...Perhaps you're comfortable with the same person who hired herself out to Scott Walker, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry telling Democrats who our candidate should be.
Who our candidate should not be.
And what our candidate should stand for.The best part of Bernie's 2020 campaign is when Trump or Russia (but I repeat myself) bribes him with another lake house or something and Bernie kamikazes the Democratic Party.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 19, 2019
Personally, I think it's hilarious.
But Never Trumpers trying to use the Potemkin Village influence which credulous Liberals and the Beltway media keeps handing them to shape the the topography of the 2020 race is definitely a thing. Behold noted wingnut fop and regular News Hour and Meet the Press guest, Byron York working out his inner demons in one of the many billionaire-subsidized Conservative rags which grow in great profusion in the dank and the dark of the American Right (with emphasis added):
Byron York: Dems' hard-left turn poses dilemma for 'Never Trumpers'As a public service, if you are unfamiliar with how wingnut writers molest the English language to advance their depraved agenda, here's a short primer.
...[Republican pollster David] Winston believes the Democratic move to the left will change the nature of the 2020 race. The more Democrats advocate policies that were on the party's far left just a short time ago — and are still out of the larger political mainstream — the more the race will become a referendum on the future of the country, on which way it should go, and not on the personalities of the candidates. That could unite Republicans — and many independents — against moving in a policy direction so antithetical to their beliefs.
But maybe there is some other way a GOP Trump challenge might work. Maybe the Democratic Party will shift again and nominate former Vice President Joe Biden as a more centrist candidate. It's possible, although it seems hard to believe Biden could win the nomination without moving steadily left. In any event, "Never Trumpers" could cite a "moderate" Biden presidency as an acceptable outcome of their challenge to Trump.
When the article talks about the "far left" it is actually is referring to the overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party and when you hear "policies that were on the party's far left just a short time ago — and are still out of the larger political mainstream" the author is actually referring to a whole portfolio of positions from recognizing and addressing climate change to raising taxes on the wealthy to providing affordable health care and college -- which are, in fact, overwhelming popular and very mainstream. But of course anyone batty enough to turn to the Washington Examiner for their "news" would never know that.
To be clear, as someone who has pledged to support the Democratic candidate for president and to tamp down on stupid, intra-party purity knife fights, let me just say that I will happily vote for any Democrat whether or not they have the Never Trumper seal of approve.
That's not the point. In fact, the point has nothing to do with the Democratic Party at all.
The point is to ask Never Trumpers over and over again, in every venue available, what the Hell happened to your party. You know, the party to which you have sold your time and talents for your entire professional career? How the fuck did it come to pass that your garden now grows nothing but monsters. Monsters that we on the "hard left" have been warning you about for decades. Monsters so terrifying that you now feel compelled to lean over the fence and tell me which crops I should raise and how I should raise them.
Because Donald Trump didn't steal your Republican Party. He didn't mesmerize it, or trick it into giving him a 90% approval rating that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Your Republican Party -- that a reliable electoral battering ram composed of bigots, grifters, ammosexuals, dominionists, homophobes, xenophobes, misogynists, rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men... and so forth -- has been primed, ready and tremblingly eager for the right demagogue to come along and claim it for decades.
All gift wrapped and tied up with a bow by people like Ms. Mair.
Which brings us around to the actual point. Which is this: once the GOP chose to rally around a strategy of conditioning its base to believe that any Democratic president was inherently illegitimate and therefor could be legitimately opposed by any means necessary and that any media outlet which said otherwise to any degree was part of some vast Liberal conspiracy, the Republican Party doomed themselves.
They stopped trying to win supporters and cynically starting breeding unhinged zealots.
Digby has been writing about this since as far back as I can remember:
One would have thought that after the embarrassment of having to ask the candidate's own brother to manipulate the voting apparatus in Florida in 2000 and then having to call upon Supreme Court Justices who were appointed by their candidate's father to stop counting votes would have made them think twice but they were not daunted by such hypocrisy. They already knew how successful it would be because this wasn't the first time these same Republicans had portrayed a Democratic president as illegitimate. They'd done it with Bill Clinton.Never Trumpers haven't just been completely wrong about their own party all along; they have been deeply and actively complicit it turning their party into a shitpile of bigots and imbeciles capable of producing Donald Trump. They are largely the same people who helped giving us eight years of Cheney Administration ruin and failure, six years of Clinton witch-hunts, and normalizing every Obama-era act of Republican slander and sedition from Birtherism to Benghazi.
And they used the fact that Clinton won with a plurality due to the Ross Perot candidacy as proof of his illegitimacy despite the fact that all the studies showed he took equally from both parties. On the day after the election Senator Bob Dole announced, "fifty-seven percent of the Americans who voted in the presidential elections voted against Bill Clinton and I intend to represent that majority on the floor of the US Senate." And so began the eight years of relentless investigations, scandal mongering, obstruction and finally impeachment.
This is how they operate when Democrats hold the White House. When they have a majority they will lean on investigations and "show" votes to delegitimize the moral authority of the president and create chaos and distraction. When they are in the minority they will obstruct everything. In both cases they will work to make the American people see a dysfunctional government that takes their money and offers precious little in return...
And I really don't care how large a megaphone the Beltway media chooses to give them, or how meticulously they barber their public appearance to dodge the simplest and most basic questions about how we got to where we are. The Never Trumpers gave up any right to have their opinions taken seriously long ago when they gave up on democracy and chose instead to pour their talents into making their party into a monster factory.
Behold, my Twitter Legal Defense Fund!