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April 24, 2019

Report on the Status of NeverTrump: Sad!

David Azerrad, writing for the LA Times:

The conservative case against Trump was strongest during the 2016 Republican primary, when there were many qualified candidates to choose from. Once Trump became the Republican nominee, however, the reasonable conservative case against Trump became the indefensible NeverTrump case for Hillary Clinton.

Our presidential elections are, for better or for worse, binary propositions. The known unknowns of a Trump presidency should have been preferable for conservatives to the known knowns of a Clinton presidency. Still, there was no way to fully refute the apocalyptic predictions NeverTrumpers made during the 2016 race, however implausible or silly they were.

Now, 2˝ years into the Trump presidency, the case for NeverTrumpism has completely collapsed. Not one of the overblown doomsday scenarios that President Trump was supposed to unleash on humanity has panned out. The economy hasn't collapsed. Fascism hasn’t come to America. And we aren't at war with the world.

The president, in fact, has an impressive record of conservative accomplishments. Admittedly, it is easy to lose sight of them amid the flurry of tweets, the high turnover rate in the administration and the daily skirmishes with journalists. But Trump has cut taxes, pursued an aggressive deregulatory agenda, boosted the defense budget and appointed two fine justices to the Supreme Court as well as a record number of appellate judges to the federal bench.

The New York Times also reports on the Last of the True Conservatives-- you know, the ones embracing racial reparations.

The die-hard remnant population of Never Trumpers comes most visibly from the class of Republican consultants, conservative media personalities and a few G.O.P. officeholders safely removed from the considerations of re-election campaigns.

And, it could be also be said: those who can raise money from liberals to attack conservatives, which office-holders can't easily do.

... There is also money to be made:

[Rick] Wilson's anti-Trump manifesto, "Everything Trump Touches Dies," became an instant No. 1 New York Times best seller in 2018, and he is now a constant cable-TV presence. He has another book on the way, lucrative speaking gigs coming in and magazine assignments -- though he says it has not offset the $4.5 million in income he estimates he has lost in recent years from would-be clients.


Kristol belongs to the category of affable gasbag that Trump marginalized as a relic of whatever nonpopulist establishment still exists inside the G.O.P.: He was the chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle, a loud and influential champion of invading Iraq (which he predicted on C-SPAN would be a "two-month war, not an eight-year war") and someone who has probably picked over as many greenroom fruit plates as anyone in Washington.

In the early days of the new administration, Kristol and other shellshocked conservatives around Washington started getting together to commiserate. One of the more regular meetings took place every other Tuesday morning, hosted by the Niskanen Center, a new libertarian think tank started by alumni of the Cato Institute. Hosted by Niskanen’s co-founder, Jerry Taylor, the meetings -- which participants called "the Meeting of the Concerned" --'were held in a conference room in the basement of the CNN building near Union Station.

The gatherings attracted a roster of right-of-center familiars: the columnists Mona Charen, David Frum and Jennifer Rubin; the former Oklahoma representative Mickey Edwards; and onetime Republican administration officials like Linda Chavez. They were invitation-only and off the record. Guest speakers were brought in, along with bagels. "There was a lot of discussion around what exactly is going on in the Republican Party," recalled Sarah Longwell, a D.C. trade association, think tank and advocacy veteran who was a semiregular attendee. "We were trying to figure out whether Trump was a symptom or cause."

As I was told by a frequent attendee of the "Meeting of the Concerned:" Every meeting consists of them asking "What happened?" without ever reaching an answer or any kind of closure.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 07:45 PM

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