Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Elite Conservative Dorm Room Foodfight

Since you are a normal human being with normal human being interests and concerns, the ongoing virtue-signaling food fight between recently-former Republicans called "Never Trumpers" and another group led by the likes of the National Review (America's Oldest and Most Venerated Journal of White Supremacy) who are referred to as "Never, Never Trumpers".

The latest round of this pissing match was kicked of by a now throroughly red-pilled Nat Silver 

This one Tweet, and the attendant "Yeah, brother" shouts from the wingnut peanut gallery set various Never Trumper's blood to boiling, but none more comically than Tom Nichols and Mona Charen and her crew on Charen's Bulwark media podcast.

I understand why many people will find this exchange harmless and innocuous.  Especially Liberals whose business model demands that they stay on the good side of Never Trumpers much higher up the media food chain than they are.  If you're angling to stay friendly with Nichols because you'd like him to bring his audience to your podcast, or if you need to stay on good terms with Charen so that she'll stay in the regular rotation of Bulwark employees which now takes up 65% of your cable station's air time...I get why you might flinch at making mock of your "allies".

However, as a longtime dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcaster out here in the middle of Middle America, I am relatively free of these sorts of commercial considerations.  For the unforgivable sins of reminding our Never Trump "allies" that history did not begin in 2015, and that they themselves played critical and profitable roles in turning the GOP into the monster factory it is today, and that allowing Never Trumpers to colonize what little is left of the Liberal media while actual Liberal voices were being shoved further and further into exile was a terrible idea, and most damningly, for reminding Never Trumpers over and over and over again that the Left was right about the Right all along...most of them blocked me years ago.

With all that said, consider the following with two thoughts in mind.

First, how identical-to-nine-significant digits Tom Nichol's whole "We warned you, but did you listen?  Noooo!" disquisition about Never Never Trumpers is to exactly the same observations that certain dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcasters have (repeatedly) made about the Never Trumpers. Y'know, the whole "History began long before 2016 and if you don't believe me, here are my archives" thing.   

And recall how roundly those dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcaster were scolded by their Liberal supervisors for daring to make Never Trumper uncomfortable by, y'know, remembering things.  Really, really important things.

Second. note how the very worst insult that can be flung about in the Never and Never Never precincts is the charge of being a (shudder) Democrat.  How Never Trumpers continue to take great pains to point out how "independent" and "non-partisan" they are.  How proud the are that they shit on Both Sides!


Mona Charen:  One of the irritating things that we have seen, even from Nate Silver. 

Tom Nichols:  Ugh.

Charen: But you see it all the time from the Anti-Anti-Trump brigades, which is, if you were really sincere about disliking Trump you'd get behind Ron DeSantis. And the fact that you're not doing so shows that you really want Trump again and so forth. I find this infuriating.  It's so illogical.  The fact is the reason that I hung back first of all, like, y'know there's a lot to dislike about Ron DeSantis but beyond that I was never convinced that he could take out Donald Trump because of his evident weaknesses.  
And I thought there's no way in which, y'know the people at The Bulwark or the people at The Dispatcher or Tom Nichols rallying around DeSantis is going to make a dime's worth of difference if the guy doesn't have what it takes...

driftglass:  Fun Fact:  When I was being reprimanded by my Liberal supervisors for alienating our new Never Trump "allies" by remembering stuff from the Before Time, I pointed out (repeatedly) that I was just a nobody blogger and podcaster out here in the cornfield.  I have never been invited to opine on cable teevee, or to pen my opinions in any print publications, or to join any Liberal podcast network, or to share my spicy opinions on syndicated Liberal radio (except for the BradCast, which is awesome), or to debate the merits of my opinions with any Never Trumper anywhere.  Plus, like a lot of Liberals, I have a long history of being right about a lot of things  and watching helplessly as nobody listened...and then the Bad Thing happens.

In other words, all available evidence suggests that my opinions about Life, the Universe and Everything could not possibly matter less.  And yet the reprimands from my Liberal supervisors continued.  Because, after all, the Fate of The Republic is at stake!

Nichols:  It became the accepted wisdom that DeSantis -- this placeholder -- was the Trump killer.  And the problem with that is that you actually have to hear the man speak and the minute he steps out there and he does all that kind of weird stuff imitating Trump and that nails on a blackboard voice and the weird otherworldly affect -- and this comes back to your point now Mona -- a lot of us look and said yeah this probably isn't the guy.  
But y'know, the response from the Anti-Anti Trumpers is such bad faith.  Because you say, look Ron DeSantis isn't a very good candidate and their answer to you is, "Well not with that attitude little mister!"  Y'know, it's like "You can't beat him as long as you're not going to be on board" but what they really mean is that they want to be able to make the charge and there are two really just, y'know, childishly bad faith charges.  
One is that you and I and Charlie and every other Never Trumper... we want Trump. Like, he's *good* for us.  Like, if Donald Trump gets re-elected, like I have no real interest in the future of my country.  If Donald Trump gets re-elected I'll get, like, a bonus at The Atlantic or Oxford will up my royalties on my last book or something.  And this is just stupid.  These are people just don't understand how any of this works and always forget that if any of us were really interested in the money, as Matt Schlapp proved, the smart thing is to jump on the Trump train, not jump in front of it.  
So...and the other thing they want to be able to do is to say because you don't support DeSantis or because you're not plumping for him as the only alternative to Donald Trump you're not really a Conservative.

Charen: Absolutely!

Nichols: You're just another Democrat criticizing Republicans.

driftglass:  Because in the Never Trumper's head, there is almost nothing worse than being accused of being Democrat.  Maybe because The Atlantic doesn't hire (shudder) Democrats who have been right about the Right all along to write exactly what Nichols writes for them now.  Maybe because Oxford doesn't commission books from (shudder) Liberals who have been right about the Right all along to write exactly what Nichols writes for them now.  Maybe because MSNBC doesn't hand out contributor contracts to anyone but recently-former Republic Bulwark employees -- especially anyone who might be tempted to blurt out some pre-2016 wisdom -- to go on camera and talk about the Republican Party in exactly the same language that Liberals have been using all along.

Nichols: And it's... I'm sorry but especially given through the whole Democratic primary where I took a lot of bats for things I said about Kamala Harris and Castro and Bill de Blasio.  People who write about politics write about politics we're not on your team.  We're not your cheerleaders.

driftglass:  See!  See!   You can trust us because we're bashing Both Sides.  

Nichols: And I think the Anti-Anti Trumpers -- and I know we've all talked about this before -- they know that they sold out.  They know that they chickened out by saying,  "Well I don't support Trump, but...", right?  Dot dot dot.  I don't support Trump but I'm not going to vote against him.  I'm gonna vote third party.  I'm gonna not vote. I'm gonna still be part of the Republican faithful even as the party kind of spirals into this cult of personality.  And they really want to believe that everybody is as morally ungrounded as they are.  And so that's a big part of that accusation. So when you're not supporting DeSantis because you don't really have any principles and you're just in it for the money, and you just sit there and listen to this and say, "This sounds an awful lot like projection." 

Charen:  Yeah if you don't mind I'm just going to climb up on the soapbox just for another minute and just say that all of the establishment conservative organs who made their peace with Trump and eventually, as you say, "plump" for Trump, they poisoned the atmosphere to the extent that they taught the electorate to accept everything from Trump To make excuses for everything from Trump.  To doubt any news source or any outlet that wasn't pro-Trump.  To the point where they now say, "Gee, why is it so hard to get rid of this guy?" y'know.   And they fantasize that they can do it with Ron DeSantis but the fact is they created the environment that has made Trump so hard to dislodge.

driftglass:  This is why Never Trumpers and their mainstream media collaborators and employers avoid Liberals with functional memories like the the devil avoids Holy Water enemas.  Because they are equally guilty of all of these same "you taught the base all these terrible habits and now we're fucked" charges that they want to lay at the feet of Never Never Trumpers.

It took billions of dollars by right wing billionaires and decades of work by goofs like Charen and Nichols and the rest of these recently-former Republicans to build a base that was primed and ready  for a demagogue like Trump.  

Nichols: And how come you won't support us in supporting a guy who's *almost* as bad as Trump.  

Charen:  That's right!

Nichols: You hate vanilla. Well how about French vanilla?  How about vanilla bean?   No I just...no I don't like vanilla.  But, y'know, as you said and as I wrote just yesterday look the country would be better -- I say this not as a partisan not as a member of any party -- 

driftglass:  Just think of me as David Brooks with a mustache...

Nichols: ... it would be better for the United States of America if Donald Trump were never on a political ticket anywhere in this country.  His record of supporting violent sedition should have rendered him completely ineligible for any kind of federal office.  And so I would be more than happy to see anybody on that ticket but Donald Trump.  But that doesn't mean that, after years of the rationalizations that places like National Review and the attacks on people like you and me over the years, that now it's, like, "Okay, it's time for you to get on the team."  Like that scene in Full Metal Jacket, "Son come in for the big win."  No that's not how it works.  
We didn't create this indestructibility of Donald Trump.  We warned you about it.  We told you not to do this.  And to somehow accuse us of acting in bad faith I think really is just a guilty conscience externalized onto the Never Trumpers at this point.

Charen: Thank you for that.  

These people built the transcontinental conservative railroad that brought the country 95% of the way to where we are now. 

But now all they want you to focus on is Trump, when all Trump did was lay the last mile of track on a ballast bed they had already leveled and graded, and then drive in the golden spike.  

And since (over my futile objections) they have successfully colonized what little was left of the Liberal media, I'm pretty sure they'll get away with it.

I Am The Liberal Media

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