(Yeah, I know, it’s been a while. Enjoy it while it lasts. No promises.)
Allow me to try to explain the delicious hypocrisy of conservatives who have suddenly, here in the spring of the Year of Our Lord 2016, discovered that the GOP isn’t a safe space for them.
Here’s how the nomination process has gone for as long as I’ve been old enough to vote. Conservatives rally behind a candidate or two. Perhaps a conservative candidate (such as Buchanan) even does pretty well early in the primaries. Then the movers and shakers in the party put a stop to that and nominate an establishment liberal. Most conservative leaders then come to their rank-and-file and say, “Okay, that was great, getting excited about a conservative for a hot second there, but it’s time to get behind the annointed guy now. We know he’s not as conservative as you’d like, but that’s why it’s so important that conservatives get behind him! We need him to owe us for helping him win, so we can get conservatives into his administration and push it to the right. If we stay home pouting, either the Democrat wins, or the liberal Republican wins without our help — conservatism loses either way. Remember the Supreme Court!!”
So that was the standard take every time. Now, according to some conservatives, the party has selected another liberal — more liberal than ever, they say. But here’s the thing: according to them, he also has extremely malleable positions. That’s one of the main things they say is so dangerous about him. So unlike guys who have held the same positions for decades, his positions are fuzzy enough that getting a few conservatives into his administration where they could nudge things one way or another could make a real difference. That’s as least a logical possibility, so their old argument makes more sense this time than ever before.
Are they making that argument? No, this time we’re supposed to use the slash-and-burn tactics they talked us out of in the past. This time it’s better to let liberals completely dominate his administration if that’s what happens, while we sit on the sidelines and feel righteous about it. Conservative leaders called that short-sighted and childish for the last 30 years, so what’s changed?
What’s changed is they got played this time. The game changed while they weren’t paying attention, and when they started calling from their dusty old playbook, no one was listening because Trump was already carrying the ball downfield on a QB option.
It’s not about the issues, and it’s not about conservatism. These guys were perfectly happy to let conservative goals languish while Republicans and Democrats alike raised spending, increased foreign entanglements, and added new unconstitutional powers and departments to the federal government, as long as they got a piece of the action and Israel was catered to. The rest of conservatism was campaign fodder.
What it’s about is that they look like chumps, and they know it, so they’re embarrassed and pissed off. Their power center is being yanked out from underneath them — by a bunch of proles that they really consider beneath them, too — and there’s not much they can do about it except whine. So whine they shall.