I won't burden you by recapitulating six years' worth of reservations about our new, recently-former Republican overlords. Suffice it to say, they have done pretty much everything I figured they would do.
Largely declared "Off Limits" any discussion of their past prior to their conversion to Never Trumping? Check.
Colonized the mainstream media? Check.
Used their positions in the mainstream media to muscle Liberal voice out of the conversation? Check.
Relentlessly insist that, unless the Democrats become GOP-lite, the republic is doomed? Check.
Relentlessly advance the Both Sides Do It lie? Check.
Oh, and that thing my Liberal supervisors kept telling me about, "Don't worry, once we get rid of Trump we'll give these guys their walking papers."?
Nope. Sorry. It was game-over once my Liberal supervisors established that any recently-former Republican (or even a current Republican) saying that Trump was a shithead, was like unto the Letters of Transit in Casablanca:
A golden ticket. A Get Out Of The Last 30 Years Free pass that cannot be rescinded, or even questioned.
Along the way I had many questions. Questions like, "What about Glenn Beck?" Was he an ally above reproached during the brief period when he was on his "I Haz Seeeeen The Light Tour!"? Before he dropped that act and crawled right back up Trump's ass?
What about Ann Coulter? Was she on our team when she was saying mean things about him, but before she wrote her "In Trump We Trust" paean to Trump's awesomeness? And now that she's back to saying mean things about Trump because he wasn't sufficiently brutal and bloodthirsty to immigrates, is she an ally again?
It was a little like being dubious of the purity and heroism of Glenn Greenwald in the days before he became Tucker Carlson's wacky "Lefty" sidekick on Carlson's White Power Hour. My Liberal supervisors were not interested in my questions and observations and told me, more or less, to shut up and go sit in a corner.
What my Liberals supervisors did not know is that they had merely adopted the corner. I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn't see the not-corner area until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but hilarious.
However, I'm also not stupid. I am quite aware that yet another rare moment during which the Left [which has been right about the Right all along] might have been able to wrest some control of the public narrative about Trump and the GOP away from Beltway hacks has been lost. That recently-former-Republican-branded media products like The Bulwark are now fully integrated into the MSNBC/CNN business and promotion model, while the Left has once again been told to suck hind tit.
Which is what makes this recent bulletin just arrived from our Never Trumper betters at The Bulwark so adorable.
As you may know, in addition to using their positions in the mainstream media to muscle Liberal voices out of the conversation, our Never Trumper betters have used also used their media clout to set themselves up in the political indulgence business, in which they determine which conservatives will be allowed into the conversation. Which conservatives have sufficiently redeemed themselves and which have not.
Y'know, exactly same kind of filtering that mouthy, obstreperous Liberals like me proposed that we set up once the Never Trumpers got run out of their own party and began showing up at our door, asking to crash on our couch. A proposal which was loudly outvoted by the "Enemy of my enemy is my friend" caucus.
And now that the 2016 Never Trumpers have sent themselves up as purity-testing gatekeepers (oh, the fucking irony) they're getting a little sniffy and dubious of these Never-Trumper-come-lately arrivistes who are showing up at the same Plymouth Rock where the original Never Trumpers arrived just six years ago, claiming that they and they alone had discovered Murrica!
TIM MILLER: You know Charlie, I know we're never going to get this, but I coulda used a "whoops" from Murdoch world. Like a "Hey, we're not going to do this again", y'know? To move from being a propagandist forum to trying to kill him, and everybody just kinda giving them credit for it? I just...that's hard for me.
driftglass: Golly! Tell me more Tim Miller!
MILLER: It's hard. I maintain some bitterness. I know that's probably my darker angels, but I just maintain some bitterness over it. It's meaningful, but I maintain some bitterness.
driftglass: You poor, poor man.
CHARLIE SYKES (oozing sarcasm): Well the good news, of course, is The National Review has now decided that it's going to stand athwart history and say "No, no! This time we mean it! We really mean it this time."
MILLER: Those guys are so weird. They're all mad at me on Twitter for making fun of them And I was like, "Just own it, guys! Just own it!" You've been 'Trump curious' for the... for the... ever since the Trump issue.
driftglass: For the record, Tim Miller is now clearly in violation of both the "Enemy of my enemy is my friend" rule and the No Fair Remembering Stuff rule. As such, I look forward to seeing my Liberal supervisors using these Interwebs to publicly take him to task for these obvious infractions. I'd scold him myself but, the last time I broached this subject, well, y'know...
MILLER: Y'know, there've been times when [The National Review crew] said nice things. Times when you said mean things. That's fine. You call it [inaudible] termed it you're calling it "balls and strikes". OK. I said from the start I don't think he's on the field. OK, I'm not calling balls and strikes on him. Everything is a strike our for me. You don't gotta hand it to him...at any point. You don't have to put on your cover "The Case for the Trump Presidency", like The National Review did.
driftglass: Again, just flagrantly violating the No Fair Remembering Stuff rule right and left.
MILLER: So I just...I don't know why these are all so defensive about the reality. But hey, if everybody wants to come over to Never Trump world right now, that's fine.
driftglass: It is absolutely not fine to welcome America's premier journal of White Supremacy into the fold. But since the Left gave away its veto power...
MILLER: The water's warm...I welcome them. It would be nice -- the welcoming would be a little warmer -- if they just said, "You were right" before they came over.
driftglass: You're right, Tim Miller! It sure as shit would be nice if the people who had been wrong all along -- professionally and profitably and catastrophically wrong all along -- could summon enough of the basic decency that we teach our kids in kindergarten to admit that they had been wrong, and those who had been right...were right.
Once again, I would broach this subject with either Tim or Charlie, but, y'know...
MILLER: I...the welcome would be with a hug. But instead now, I'm gonna have to welcome them with a little bit of a cold shoulder and first, and then get a couple of drinks in me before they're allowed into the party, but that's fine.
driftglass: "before they're allowed into the party". Heh.
MILLER: Everybody's welcome.
driftglass: Attention Liberal Elite. This is what happens when you give your power away.
MILLER: I will say this though. All these people were against him in 2016 too. So I just... I also don't love... I also don't love kind of the whole, "Oh, we're the power brokers here. And oh, some of the big donors and Fox and the National Review..." All you guys live in New York, alright, like. None of you people were for Trump the first time. So I think everybody should just hold their horses on discussing the Great Meaning of all this, though we welcome all converts. Let's just...see...what the people want, OK? And... and...so when I first started hearing people that were, like, "Hey, I was... Sarah's gonna go do some focus groups." You can listen to them on Bulwark+...
driftglass: I don't have to. I live in Trump country and have been paying close attention to the wide, clearly-marked, racist road to fascism down which Tim's recently-former party has been speeding since even before the days when "Mega-dittos Rush!" became wingnut hanky code for "Let's quit screwing around and get our white supremacist freak on now!"
MILLER: ... and if we listen to the first focus group and it's like, "Man, I was with Donald Trump in 2016. I went to every rally. I wore a red hat. But I'm sick of him." that is going to intrigue me a lot more than Rich Lowry's ninth flip-flop on this guy, OK?
Long ago some wag predicted what the shape of public political dialogue within the media would soon come to look like if then-present trends continued:
Donald Trump exists to normalize Bill Kristol. After Trump, cable news "debates" will be between Charlie Sykes/Rick Wilson/National Review on one side, Eric Bolling/Hugh Hewitt/Breitbart on the other, "moderated" by Joe Scarborough. Liberals will vanish altogether.— Driftglass, Guardian of Inconvenient History (@Mr_Electrico) November 15, 2018
Might have gotten a few of the details wrong, but that wag stands by the gist of it.
Bonus extra fun and thanks to Charlie Pierce for pointing it out: