Posted Monday morning, October 15, 2018.
“You have to be a truly bad candidate to lose to someone who manifestly falls short of, and indeed endangers, what both parties stand for”: Trump-loathing conservative but still conservative Bill Kristol embracing the joy of trolling.
It’s not necessary that conservatives who are appalled by Trump and who either opposed his ever becoming the GOP’s nominee let alone President from the first or who have come to advocate his being removed from office---one of those Venn diagrams that’s practically a circle, unfortunately. Judging by the polls, once Trump, #ForeverTrump.---become Democrats or renounce and abjectly apologize for their pre-Trump conservatism.
Keeping in mind that what’s going on in my Twitter feed is only representative of what’s going on in my Twitter feed, plenty of liberals are demanding they do so. This reminds me of the confessions demanded of prisoners in Vietnamese re-education camps. But that’s just me.
(See also the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and the House Un-American Activities Committee.)
What it really is is the usual frustrated and permanently aggrieved Twitterers’ demand that everybody else on Twitter is required to validate their feelings and their politics---too often the same thing. Whatever’s at work, idealogoguery or vanity, the demand is short in it’s understanding of human nature.
Most people have other and higher principles than their political ones. All that’s necessary for someone to remain conservative and still loathe and despise Trump and see him as a disgrace to the presidency and the country is to be basically honest with yourself, basically decent-hearted, basically fair-minded, adult, and moral, and to value morality, patriotism, and decency above political philosophy. I don’t expect or want #NeverTrump-ers to become Democrats. I don’t trust converts anyway. But I do like to see good people remain true to themselves. And I believe liberalism needs and benefits from principled conservative opposition. I’m always suspicious of the supposed principles and I don’t want that opposition to win any fights. But having it makes liberals have to slow down, think things through, and take care that their policies work---you know, be pragmatic, like FDR.
What I want #NeverTrumpers to see is that they can’t be Republicans anymore. The GOP is not going to return to what it was when they joined because it wasn’t what they thought it was and what it really was produced Trump.
From the moment they let Jesse Helms into their Caucus and gave him a position of high leadership in the Senate, the GOP was on its way to nominating if not Trump himself then someone very like him. Racist, demagogic, corporatist, authoritarian, mendacious and conniving, and a champion of the Party as the party of rich, white, Right Wing men.
Everybody else, including the average white, Right Wing men who vote Republican, are just employees who are expected to obey the bosses, follow company rules, live in the company town, be grateful for whatever they’re given, and accept without complaint that they owe their souls to the company store.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin was the first I saw who realized this. Author, pundit, and professional grump Tom Nichols has finally given up on the Party. Max Boot has been working to wrap his head around it and maybe when he’s there heart and soul he’ll make a full confession and apologize as abjectly as Twitter inquisitors have been demanding.
But old opinions and old animosities die hard, contrarianism is a hard habit to shake, and the temptation to stick a finger in the eye of self-important people annoying you with their self-importance is hard to resist. Any or all of this, along with the possibility he’s still holding onto the hope the Republican Party will return to what it was when his parents helped give it its undeserved reputation as the “Party of Ideas,” explains the Tweet by Bill Kristol I posted up top.
Kristol tweeted a harrumph directed at Hillary Clinton:
You have to be a truly bad candidate to lose to someone who manifestly falls short of, and indeed endangers, what both parties stand for.
To which I replied, as if he’d see it or care (I like to pretend famous people on Twitter are my friends):
Clinton had flaws. They all have flaws, fatal flaws that aren’t revealed until they lose. Take John McCain. His fatal flaws were there to see right from the start but nobody noticed---nobody of the chattering class, at any rate---while the media was focusing on his supposed winning strengths, particularly his maverickyness.
HRC made mistakes. She had weaknesses she herself failed to see and compensate for. But her principle flaws were her last name, her sex, her not being Barack Obama---Republicans who voted for Obama (and there were fewer of them you might think going by the political media’s obsession with them) voted for him, not what he stood for or what he did. And many Democrats couldn’t get excited about her because they really wanted him to continue being President.---and her Party.
Most Republicans won’t vote for any Democrat any more than most Democrats will vote for a Republicans. Most people aren’t just Republican or Democratic anyway. They’re also emphatically not Democratic or not Republican.
The evidence is they vote against with more ardor and conviction than they vote for.
Even so, they do vote their party.
Republicans elected Trump. They voted for him for the same reasons they’d have voted for Low-Energy Jeb or Lying Ted or Little Marco. They voted for him for the same reasons they’d have voted for whoever was the Republican nominee if there’d been one who could have beaten Trump. For the same reasons they always vote for Republicans up and down the line, election year in and out. To keep their taxes down and to keep THEM! Those People! in their place.
As far as Trump concerned them, they either didn’t know what he was, didn’t want to admit to themselves what he was, didn’t care what he was, or knew what he was and…
Liked him all the more for it!
To see a clip from the interview with Hillary that provoked Kristol's trolling or read Rachel Ventresca's summary, follow the link to Clinton: 'You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for' at CNN.