"You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye."-- Hunter S. Thompson
Now that Trump is no longer in office, that clutch of True Conservatives (tm) who have taken over the MSNBC Green Room are still casting about for a new name, but for awhile longer we'll still use the "Never Trump" monicker here among ourselves.
And what do we always say, about Never Trumpers?
That you can never trust them
And why do we say it?
Because there is no such thing as a "former" hard-core Republican.
As I have written before, there may be casual, occasional Republican-curious voters who have never picked up the filthy habit. And I have previously confessed to casting votes once or twice for waaay down-ticket Republicans in local races where I knew they were extraordinarily well-qualified and had no higher ambition than, say, water reclamation. And yes, in my misspent youth I even pissed away my vote on John Anderson, because Reagan was clearly dangerous, but Carter wasn't pure enough for elevated pubescent political tastes.
However the hard-core Republican -- those who believe that if they keep the True Faith in the face of all facts to the contrary they will join Ronald Reagan in Republican Heaven -- is a different animal entirely. They will always be a junkie who, given the slightest opportunity to rationalize themselves into just one more little taste, will backslide right back into their bad habits every fucking time.
Which brings us once again to Ms. Mona Charen, frequently syndicated national columnist, occasional MSNBC contributor, Policy Editor of The Bulwark and author of three books which should clue you in to exactly what she thinks of us stupid Libtards:
Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (2003)Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help (and the Rest of Us) (2005)Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense (2018)
She is also one of those prominent Never Trump "allies" about whom I have been repeatedly and sternly lectured. Specifically, that their toxic histories, repellent core ideology and complete lack of contrition for creating the GOP that created Trump were all things we Useful Liberal Idiots were supposed to overlook and accommodate.
Y'know, for the good of the country.
However, while still being a tiny, independent, unaffiliated, non-coastal, single-shingle blogger after 16 years at the grindstone does come with some pretty big drawbacks, it does afford me the luxury -- and it is a luxury -- of not really having to care what my much bigger and more influential Liberal brothers and sisters have to say about a whole range of subjects. When I agree with them -- which I frequently do -- well that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. And when I think they're fucking up, well they can't very well fire me from gigs I never get, and they can't very well deplatform me from platforms onto which I'm never invited.
Which brings us back to Ms. Charen and her Bulwark podcast (which Crooks & Liars has helpfully clipped here) and a lengthy discourse by panelist Damon Linker on the Forbidden Topic the history of the GOP.
Mr. Linker points out that the Reagan Revolution days of the GOP are long dead:
Linker: The, ouster of Liz Cheney, I think, simply put a period and an exclamation point at the end of an era in the Republican party that had already expired. Quite a long time ago, as a matter of fact.
That Trump being able to easily "mow down" every opponent in the 2016 Republican primaries was proof that the party was definitely not the same party that Ms. Charen and Linda Chavez so fondly remember.
Linker: ...and that raises some very important historical questions.
Which puts Mr. Linker on some thin ice, because if Never Trump Republicans are virtually unanimous on any one subject, it's that Thou Shalt Not Bring Up The Inconvenient Past. Heedless of this Mr. Linker plunges ahead, and you can almost feel Mona Charen and Linda Chavez clenching up.
Linker: When did the people who joined the party for that reason [The Spawn of Reagan] lose touch with the rest of the party? Y'know, when... when did they... when did they stop understanding the drift of party? Uh, the... the idea of big, pervasive lies, uh, is not particularly new in the Republican party...
And now we are on very thin ice because what Mr. Linker is saying (in much politer language that I would use) is:
The base of the GOP have been racist reprogrammable meatbags for a long,
Trump swept to power because he spoke to that base in the clear, deranged,
hateful Limbaugh language which has been their Mother Tongue all along.
- The professional Brain Caste of the GOP -- people like Mona Charen who have been making a very good living for very long time opining smugly about their deep and subtle knowledge of politics -- either never noticed or didn't care about what was actually going on right in front of them inside their own party.
Mr. Linker continues.
Linker: Remember Birtherism? Which gained a remarkable purchase among the Republican rank-and-file. Uh, people believe what they want to believe...
And this was the moment at which the awful truth proved too much for Ms. Charen to bear. So she grabbed for the oldest and most reliable tool in the hack Beltway pundit toolbox.
Charen: Well hang on one second. Can I just... I'm sorry, I just have to push back a little bit there because, yes, Birtherism was horrible and it was... and it was racist...
Can you guess what comes next?
Charen: Um...but, there was a widespread belief among Democrats that Bush lied us it war, which is also not true. So...
Just sit with that for a moment.
Think about how much mental evasion, revision, redaction and sheer Orwellian memory-holing had to happen for Mona Charen, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, sitting in the racist rubble of the party she spent her adult life defending, to continue blithely insisting that the Bush administration did not lie us into war in Iraq and that Democrats who believed otherwise were every bit as deluded as Birther Republicans.
Now take a step back and consider the larger issue Ms. Charen is all spun up over: the ouster of Liz Cheney. Specifically, Ms. Charen is indignant about the mental evasion, revision, redaction and sheer Orwellian memory-holing that Republicans are engaged in that allow them, here in the Year of Our Lord 2021, to sit proudly in the racist rubble of the party they drove Mona Charen out of, blithely insisting that the 2020 election was stolen and the January 6th insurrection never happened.
You could drive a railroad spike into irony that thick.
And Mr. Charen's unprompted and disgraceful Both Siderist interjection -- which was clearly a brushback pitch aimed at Mr. Linker's head -- served its purpose. Mr. Linker did indeed back off.
Linker: Well..but...uh, look, we can have... we can have a long discussion about that, Mona, and I'm not gonna... I'm not gonna argue that point right now.
No, no, no. Because unless you're willing to jump on openings like that when and where they happen, the chance may well be lost forever. Because as I may have already mentioned, if Never Trump Republicans are virtually unanimous on any one subject, it is that Thou Shalt Not Bring Up The Inconvenient Past.
So Mr. Linker tried another route. Starting back in 1968, [Linker argued while carefully avoiding any mention of Nixon or his Southern Strategy] the GOP began it's dependency on the votes of white working-class voters [code for white racists.] But the GOP never really delivered for them, and over the decades their fury seethed and grew until, during the Obama administration, it boiled over...
Linker: The elite -- the leaders of the Republican party -- lost touch with their own rank-and-file, uh, and I would say didn't even understand what, y'know, the Tea Party revolt was really about. It wasn't about a balanced budget. It wasn't about small government. It was about the things Donald Trump articulated.
But again, Ms. Charen would have none of it.
Charen: (Deep sigh) Well, I... OK, it's, uh, um, those are a lot of big topics but it's time, actually, for us to move onto our next subject. But, um, I think it's just... I will say this. I think it's really hard to know, um, looking back, what the Tea Party was about.
Bullshit/ It was at all not hard to know what they were about for anyone who was documenting in real-time what they doing and saying.
However, Ms. Charen remembers a few of the signs the Fake Tea Party waved around, so...
Charen: I mean, if you take them at their word at the time, y'know, all their signs that they held up. "Taxed Enough Already". Or, y'know, "We Can't Afford This". Or, y'know, "Nobody Bailed Me Out".
Golly. By that logic, I guess the armed insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol must have been patriots because some of them were waving American flags, right?
And isn't is also weird that somehow Ms. Charen doesn't remember the many, many, many other signs these racist assholes were brandishing at the time. And since she doesn't remember any of that unpleasantness...
Charen: That kind of thing, um, it didn't... it sure didn't seem to be, uh, racial or ethnic or class resentment. It didn't present that way. Now maybe that's what it turned out to be, but, uh, it's very hard... it's very hard to, um... it's hard to know what all those people were thinking...and in any case, at the time, it sure looked like... a... it sure looked and sounded like a[n] objection to the... to the, uh, expansion of government.
Eight years of torture, warrantless wiretapping, a trillion dollar war that Bush lied us into and then botched, the Clinton Surplus pissed away almost immediately and replaced with gargantuan tax-cut driven Republican deficits that dwarfed the previous mountain of Republican deficits...and during all that time these Tea Party Patriots never said a fucking word. Then, in the depths of a Republican-led economic crash that was coming closer by the hour to tipping over into a second Great Depression, Democrats elected the Kenyan Usurper and only then, did these Republican fuckers suddenly find their voices.
Or as I wrote all the way back in 2009:
Most newly minted “independents” seem to be little more than Republicans who are fleeing the scene of their crime, but at the same time still desperately want believe in the inerrant wisdom of Rush Limbaugh. They are completely incapable of facing the horrifying reality that they have gotten every single major political opinion and decision of their adult lives completely wrong, so instead they double-down on their hatred of women and/or gays and/or brown people and/or Liberals, and blame them for the miserable fuckpit their leaders and their policies have made of their lives and futures.Like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, they have stopped running away from the catastrophe they created only long enough to burn their uniforms...
This is why you cannot trust Never Trumpers. Because having spent decades as the Right's elite, clueless, condescending intelligensia, and writing books like --
Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (2003)Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help (and the Rest of Us) (2005)
-- they are simply not mentally or emotionally equipped to face up to how completely fucking wrong they have been about pretty much everything. And (so much worse) how utterly right the Left has been about the Right all along.
Which is how they end up doing exactly what they criticize Trump Republicans for doing: inventing a fictional alternate universe in which they were right all along and Liberals barely exist at all except as punching bags.
An alternate universe in in which the only people they deign to interact with either agree with them, or agree not to point out that they're living in a delusion. And for those who come a'knockin' bearing painful truths? Well go ahead and try it and see what happens.
Because for all their material success and massive over-representation in the media, Never Trumpers have no legacy but failure. They will leave behind nothing of lasting moral or intellectual value.
Remember, these are very, very privileged, cosseted people who swaggered through the decades, defining themselves as the arbiters of Truth and Virtue and airily dismissing anyone who said that something was fundamental wrong inside their political party, and was getting worse.
Now, all of that lies in ruins. Their idols are smashed. Their holy scriptures are punch lines. And those they put their faith in -- who they raised up and glorified -- turned out to be the worst kind of craven, fascist trash, which is why they are completely incapable of looking their actual history in the eye --
-- and instead use their massive over-representation in the media to spread fanciful fairy tales of how their party ended up so irreversibly fucked-in-the-head (spoiler: Liberals are to blame):
You know, if they hadn't spent decades fucking up our country almost beyond repair and then spent the last few years lying about it, I suppose one could almost pity them
No Half Measures