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So, Not Really “Never” Then

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Mr. Jonah Goldberg, everyone:

The thing is: Never Trump is over. Never Trump was about the GOP primary and the general election, not the presidency. The Left wants to claim it must be a permanent movement, denying the legitimacy of Trump’s election forever, or we were never serious. Well, that’s not what we — or at least I — signed up for. But you know what is alive and well? Always Trump. These are the folks who think Trump must be defended and celebrated no matter what he does or says. In fairness, some of these people are still auditioning for jobs in the administration and know they must follow the rhetorical principle of “not one step backward.” But others are just normal Americans who love Trump and think that I’m somehow duty-bound to say I love him too, no matter what he does. Well, I didn’t sign up for that either. Whenever I say this, someone shrieks at me about my “arrogance” or “hubris” — for reasons I truly cannot fathom. But I’ll say it again: I’m going to call ’em like I see ’em and wait and see if I was wrong about Trump. So far, I’ve said that most of his cabinet picks have been a pleasant and welcome surprise.

Within about 3 months, the only even nominal opposition to Trump from anyone of any influence within the Republican Party will be in Glenn Greenwald’s imagination.

If Trump had lost, it would have made writing the Trump chapter of the second edition of Liberal Fascism: I’m Rubber and You’re Glue a hell of a lot easier.

[Via Edroso.]

…On a related point:

Here’s a good test for the Republicans who opposed Donald Trump because they saw him as a threat to democracy: Will they also condemn the Republican power grab going on right now in North Carolina?

Hahahahahahahahaha no. Indeed, the fact that attacks on democratic norms are utterly mainstream Republican practice is one reason the party will find Trump as easy to wear as the new Armani suit that was crucial to conducting foundation business.

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  • tsam

    NeverTrump was a giant hedge from chickenshit pundits. They left plenty clues in their scrawls at the time indicating that their only objection to him was his uncouth nature. Policy wise, these guys all think ShitGibbon is aces.

    • Angry Warthog Breath

      And it’s not like that shit changed. If anything, he got more brazen as things went on. Unfortunately, as you say, they only intended it to say “well, I was never a supporter of that boorish Mr Trump” when Clinton won, so it’s not much use in this universe. It’d be nice to go into the universe where Clinton won and hand over this evidence that they never gave a shit, and then say “PLEASE LET ME STAY HERE IT’S TERRIBLE BACK THERE IT’S ALL THE WORST”

      • Tom in BK

        I lost a bet to a friend by saying that David Brooks would endorse Trump by the last week in September. But even if he still professes to be a Never Trump-er, Brooks can’t help himself with schlock like this:

        Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.

        I eagerly await Brooks’s column about what “effective reform” should look like.

        • “The opinion class”?

          Gack.

          • tsam

            That has a shitload of unintended connotations, don’t it?

          • muddy

            I say we declare war on that class.

        • Philip

          Guillotines are too good for some

          • efgoldman

            Guillotines are too good for some

            Make sure they’re nice and dull….

        • Ahuitzotl

          Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates

          Fuck that shit, the crap that (e.g.) Texas is pleased to designate as a school system was designed by Texas, not by unnamed ‘experts’

  • Hercules Mulligan

    Not that this would have saved us from the twin devils of CNN and James Comey, but the cravenness of NeverTrump Republicans makes it clear how doomed-to-fail an electoral strategy of “win over moderate conservatives in the suburbs” was on the part of the Democrats.

    • Jackson87

      Speaking of CNN, their website has a very moving piece on the horrors of mass extinction facing us if we don’t do something. Makes one wonder why they spent the last year fluffing a climate change denying anti environmentalist.

      • XTPD

        Because Touch-and-GoToHell Bullethead wanted to finish what The Apprentice started, and also doesn’t give a shit about anything but ratings.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        In their defense, it’s not like any other network saw fit to ask about climate change in any primary or general debate.

        • delazeur

          I’m pretty sure there were primary debate questions about it, at least on the Democratic side. But you’re right, it was a very strange omission from the general debates.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        we’re to the point now where 45% of the electorate would say, “fine, that means jesus will be here shortly to get us”

        the look on their faces when jesus picks up all the climate refugees and leaves all of them (and probably most of us unfortunately) here will be *priceless*

        • Philip

          They would have a rude awakening if Jesus of Nazareth did show up, for sure. I seem to recall him having Views on ostentatious religiosity, the wealthy, poor treatment of one’s fellow man, etc.

    • Oui.

  • Ahenobarbus

    I’m going to call ’em like I see ’em and wait and see if I was wrong about Trump. So far, I’ve said that most of his cabinet picks have been a pleasant and welcome surprise.

    So what was Goldberg expecting?

    • Gwen

      Right? The only good picks have been, who? General Mattis maybe, and aww hell whynot, I’ll throw in Linda McMahon because I’m keeping kayfabe.

      Even by Republican standards most of these picks are embarrassingly bad.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        And what’s wrong with Elaine Chao?

        • Hogan

          We’re going to be hearing that a lot in the next four years, aren’t we?

        • William Berry

          That’s a joke, right?

        • Colin Day

          Nothing much wrong with her. Her husband, on the other hand . . .

      • JohnT

        Many of them are bad because of their views though, rather than being totally unqualified. If you don’t mind racism then Sessions is a reasonably qualified AG, for example – he was Alabama AG in the Nineties.
        Really unqualified ones include DeVos, Carson, McMahon (sorry), Haley and probably Tillerson, Pompeo and Mnuchin. A couple more are questionable from a neutral POV. Flynn is technically qualified but seems genuinely too unstable. Perry is technically qualified (Governor of an energy state) but obviously a bit of a fool.
        Mathis, Sessions, Ross, Kelly, Priebus, Chao, Pruitt and the rest of them (including Pence) are the sort of people who typically get those sort of jobs, really.

        • (((Malaclypse)))

          Perry is technically qualified (Governor of an energy state) but obviously a bit of a fool.

          Energy is about securing nukes, not drilling oil.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Probably Perry will use nukes to drill for oil.

            • Ahuitzotl

              dont be so oldfashioned – nuclear fracking is the way

          • Davis

            I’m reminded that Obama’s two secretaries have been physicists, one a Nobel prize winner, the other from MIT. But then David Brooks says we don’t need experts.

    • Matt McIrvin

      I think some of the NeverTrumpers swallowed the idea that Trump was some kind of closet liberal or centrist. He appoints a bunch of Fox News freaks and predatory billionaires, and they’re happy as clams.

      • delazeur

        Yeah, that was a huge part of the Trump-skepticism we saw from Republicans.

      • nemdam

        Yeah, folks are forgetting the second reason other than shame why #NeverTrump existed. It was because many conservative writers thought he was a secret New York liberal. Now that they’ve seen his cabinet, they realize he’s a true conservative so he’s OK.

    • Nobdy

      He’s just using the cabinet as cover. Goldberg and the rest of them only were #notuntilhewinsTrumpers because they thought he was going to lose and reflect badly on the party. They wanted to avoid the splash damage and protect the rest of the conservatives. But he won, so their ONLY hold-up in endorsing him is gone now. But they can’t admit that (these are SERIOUS THINKERS, you guyz! YOU GUYZ!) so instead they say “wow, look, Trump is doing all this great stuff, that’s why I am endorsing him.”

      This blog hammered home repeatedly that the only actual policy differences between Trump and the rest of the party was that he said the quiet stuff loud and seemed to be flirting with not being insanely cruel to the poor. The first is a non-issue now (everyone’s shouting the quiet stuff) and he’s abandoned the second anyway.

      Goldberg’s opposition to Trump was never really based on policy or what he might do. It was just an attempt to avoid backing a losing horse. Sad!

  • Aaron Morrow
  • I think the problem is we are too sciency and all 'words have meanings' and stuff and don't understand how real humans (in Real Amerka) use real human language.

  • Tom Till

    Even Richie ended up building the ramp for Beansie. But at least he was genuinely principled about not wanting to do it. The NeverTrumpers have just been playing hard to get.

  • LWA

    And falling in line obediently, John Hindrocket declares Trump to be a butterfly.

  • RPorrofatto

    Here’s a good test for the Republicans who opposed Donald Trump because they saw him as a threat to democracy: Will they also condemn the Republican power grab going on right now in North Carolina?

    Unlike Bernstein, I am not a political scientist, but wow, that’s stupidly naive. A blatant, unethical, frequently constitutional or even illegal “power grab” has been the Republican MOA for the last 36 years.
    This, too:

    And I don’t consider partisan gerrymandering as inherently undemocratic.

    Gee, I consider any manipulation of representation in which a minority of votes wins the manipulating party a majority of power as inherently undemocratic, but that’s just me, the political non-scientist.

    • RPorrofatto

      “unconstitutional”

  • efgoldman

    I wonder if Jonah (and Rubin, too) have been receiving the tender mercies of the joyous anti-semite neo-nazis (and in Jennifer’s case, the misogyny, too) like, say Julia Ioffe.

    I mean, it’s only fair, right?

    • BartletForGallifrey

      Yes. Extensively.

  • pillsy

    #NeverTrumpUnlessHeWins

  • BigHank53

    the rhetorical principle of “not one step backward.”

    That’s more than a little ironic, since Trump’s motto may as well be “Not one step forward.”

  • Alan G Kaufman

    Many republicans voted for him, I think, betting that he would be a vehicle for the standard republican agenda, figuring all his bluster and bull could be ignored, as Paul Ryan does. The bet is that the damage he will do as the empty headed vacuous narcissistic doltish vain ignoramus that he is will be small compared to the gain achieved by using him as a vehicle for the right wing agenda. He conned enough non republicans. . And continues to do so… to get elected with a minority of the vote… and that is what he is useful for. As for the rest, they will let him have his rallies, his twitter, his ball caps, his conflicts of interest, and his business…. let him feel important…while ignoring him as the mainstream party enacts their reactionary right wing agenda. Looks like a good bet so far. He is bluster, sound and fury signifying nothing, to be patronizingly applauded and substantively ignored as Ryan, McConnell, Pence, and Bannon go about business.

  • J Alfred Press

    I forget if it was Bad Religion or Borges who said, “Eternity my friend is a long fucking time.”

  • Harry R. Sohl

    When Homo Sapiens evolved past Neanderthals, I’m sure there was lots of concern about bringing them along, staying mindful of their feelings, etc.

    We are at a similar point. We’re going to have to leave the stupid motherfu¢kers behind if this species is going to survive.

    I’m sure they’ll be very vocal in their opposition. I’m not listening anymore.

    I can’t slow down and risk failure for the smart people in order to take care of these people who sadly are too dumb to take care of themselves.

    • Adam The K

      Oh come now, this isn’t really fair.

      Don’t give Neanderthals a bad name!

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