Among the recently former Republicans who have now colonized the mainstream media there is [if they are cornered] a willingness to grudgingly and elliptically admit that monsters like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh actually existed played a role in shaping the trajectory of their recently former party.
However, if there is no one present with receipts to push them -- especially when they're jerking each other off in their own, Never Trumper safe spaces -- the actual history of their party suddenly vanishes and all the sins and crimes of the GOP suddenly and spontaneously appear...
Well, let's let them tell it.
This is an exchange between MSNBC contributor, Bulwark founder and 30-year Hate Radio veteran, Charlie Sykes and obscure Conservative fundamentalist National Review crank turned New York Times op-ed columnist David French.
The subject is George Santos
Sykes: Yesterday I described George Santos as, like, peeling this onion of lies and deceit and sleaze and it just gets worse and worse and worse. And now I think it's becoming obvious there's more to this story. We don't know what this story is. I mean, the sleazy Ponzi schemes, the Russian money. But you step back from it and realize that he really is a creature and a personification of our politics.
driftglass: "Our" politics? Really?
Sykes: And not just the vulnerability of our democracy to someone like him but, y'know, for for people who are looking at him and saying "How did we end up with someone like George Santos in congress?", y'know, nobody could have seen this coming could they David [French]? Nobody could have possibly seen George Santos coming.
French: George Santos was an inevitability. I think that's the better way to think about it. It was inevitable that we would end up with someone like George Santos. And the reason it was inevitable is because, the Republican party made an intentional, conscious choice to abandon any concept of character in its political leaders. Just toss it overboard. Not just just toss it overboard, but to mock and vilify people who retained any kind of desire for character in leadership. So...and this is a product of...
driftglass: The product of ... Nixon's Southern Strategy? Agnew and Buchanan? Reagan pandering to racists and conservative Evangelicals to win in 1980? Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority being invited to the GOP's adult table?
The product of ... the rise of Hate Radio and wall-to-wall Limbaugh and Limbaugh-imitators becoming the voice of the GOP? The rise of serial adulterer and con man to Newt Gingrich and his slash-and-burn GOP politics? Tom DeLay? "B-1" Bob Dornan?
The product of ... Lee Atwater taking over as RNC chair? Fox News and all the horrors it spawned from O'Reilly to Hannity to Carlson? Karl Rove and eight years of Bush/Cheney lies, torture, calamity and disaster? The constant ratchetting of the GOP further and further to the Right to accommodate its increasingly deranged base?
The product of ... the creation of the Tea Party monster and eight years of Republican no-holds-barred racism, obstruction and sabotage? Tell us, David French (now of The New York Times), when exactly did your recently former party go bull goose loony?
French: ...and this is a product of the Trump years... And so to attain political prominence in the GOP since Trump came down the escalator in 2015...
Are we done?
Sykes: Yeah, I wanna underline that point. It's not just that Conservatives and Republicans made a pivot back in 2015/2016 after a decades of saying that character matters to say, no, winning is all that matters...
French: This is the story of the last seven years ... To say that has been a reality on the Right is not to then say that the Left has it all together. [Hahah!] Of course not!
See, this shit is why we needed to...