One of the most amazing things about Trump pulling away the paper-thin veneer of respectability hiding the rot of American conservatism is watching the frantic desperation of right wing pundits trying to cover it back up. From George Will to Jennifer Rubin to Charlie Sykes to Joe Scarborough to Erick Erickson, the same people that made Trump possible are now screaming at the top of their lungs that their creation is an abomination that has absolutely nothing to do with their conservative movement.
It's like reading a history textbook and watching it be rewritten on the fly.
The latest entry in this real time historical revisionism comes from Michael Gerson who wants us to know that conservatism was just fine until Trump came along and ruined everything with all of his lying:
When there is no objective source of truth — no commonly agreed upon set of facts and rules of argument — political persuasion becomes impossible. There is no reasoned method to choose between one view and another. The only way to settle political disputes is power — determined by screaming mobs or because “I’m president and you’re not.” Politics becomes an endless battle of true believers, conditioned to distrust and dismiss every bit of evidence that does not confirm their preexisting views. The alternative to reasoned discourse is the will to power.
This is the frightening direction of Trumpism. It is the corruption that good men such as White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly are enabling. And it is a source of enduring shame for many conservatives.
In order to write that with a straight face, I can only assume Michael Gerson was, in fact, frozen in a block of ice for the past 20 years or so and only thawed out this past January. It's the only way he could actually believe that conservatism has any but the most tenuous link to reality.
Fox News, AM Hate Radio, Breitbart and Drudge, and the Republican Party itself simply decided, decades ago, that they could lie with impunity and they were right. The "liberal" press rewarded them handsomely for being phenomenally dishonest by blaming "both sides" whenever possible. Chris Cillizza alone has spilled an ocean of digital ink letting Republicans off the hook by creating Democratic "scandals" out of whole cloth. Thus freed from having to be even a little honest, the GOP and its followers live in an entirely fact-free alternate reality where white Christian heterosexual males are oppressed, Schrodinger's immigrants are both lazy welfare cheats and stealing all of the jobs, Jesus wants the rich to have all the money, and compromising with the Democrats is a sin against God and country.
Karl Rove perfectly summed up conservatism's disdain for reasoned discourse back in 2004 while Gerson was presumably a human snow-cone:
The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.
In other words: Facts don't matter because "I'm president and you're not." What is happening right now is not Trumpism, it's just conservatism with a third grade vocabulary.
There are 13 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 377 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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