There are three types of conservatives today. The first is standing on the bow of the HMS Trumptanic screaming "I'm the king of the world!", completely oblivious to the massive iceberg that's about to end their world in November. The second sees the iceberg and is busy looting the ship because if they're going down, might as well get rich first.
The third is frantically trying to get the lifeboats ready so when the ship sinks, it doesn't take the entire conservative movement with it. This op-ed by Erick Erickson, previously of the far right hate site Red State, is what that panicked work looks like:
Conservatives are reveling in their successes and increasing their immorality concurrently. The conservatives who 20 years ago wanted to chase President Bill Clinton out of town for having sex in the Oval Office are now trying to ignore the current president reportedlycheating [sic] on his current wife with a porn star. It has become far easier for conservatives to believe lies than believe truths, and it has become far easier for conservatives to turn a blind eye to injustices than speak up. More and more conservatives are modeling Trump’s bad behaviors. His vulgarity, his thin skin, his willingness to insult and demean, and his willingness to degrade his office are now reflected in conservative political leaders who increasingly see their goal as beating the other side instead of advancing ideas and sound public policy.
I wonder if Erickson thinks everything he's ever said or written magically disappeared since he became a Never Trumper? With over a decade of whipping the right wing into a paranoid frenzy with his racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric, Erickson is not so much anti-Trump but one of his architects; one of the Frankensteins, if you will.
Erickson goes on to lament the right's "sudden" embrace of big government under Trump:
In straining to beat the other side, they are beginning to look like the other side. The party of small government is perfectly happy to grow government as long as Trump is spending the money. The party of limited government is perfectly happy to have a powerful chief executive as long as Trump is wielding the power. Trump and his supporters have also doubled-down on unwise precedents set by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama investigated leaks to reporters such as James Rosen; Trump now seems to revel in the idea of shutting down whole networks whose coverage he hates. Republicans who decried the left’s hostility to free speech in the Obama years now champion censorship of their opponents.
This all sounds like deep conservative wisdom...as long as American political history begins on January 20th, 2009 and ignores the entire 8 years of George W. Bush. The last time Republicans had control of the government, it looked an awful lot like what's happening now: They massively increased government spending on the stuff their donors wanted (war, fossil fuels, more war), massively slashed taxes for the rich, massively exploded the deficit, massively increased the debt, and massively increased the power of the executive branch (or in Trump's case, tried to). Come to think of it, the Reagan years looked pretty much the same. It's almost like when Republicans talk about "small government" they're lying through their teeth. Imagine that.
And it's adorable that Erickson is complaining about the left's hostility to free speech. I have three words for him and then we're going to move on: The Dixie Chicks.
Erickson's main argument is that conservatives will not be able to convince minorities, the young, women, independents, etc. that they're not essentially Nazis in future elections; that they will pay a steep price for allowing Trump to become the face of the conservative movement Here, he finally has a point:
Though many conservatives, myself included, have cheered the successes of this administration, most of them are easily reversible and, along the way, it will be harder and harder to separate the successes from the low character and behavior of the man whose name is connected to them. Conservatives may no longer care, but for most Americans, character still matters. At some point, those on the right will pay the price.
But there's still that one nagging little detail: The low character and behavior Erickson bemoans were around long before Trump came onto the scene. Fox News, AM Hate Radio, right wing hate sites and the Republican Party have spent the last 20 years turning the conservative movement into a toxic miasma of fear, hate, and rage wrapped in an impenetrable bubble of misinformation. Erick Erickson was once a hugely influential part of the process of reducing conservatives into gibbering imbeciles ripe for the plucking by a conman like Trump. And like every Never Trumper, Erickson thought it would be a conman of his choosing instead of a reality TV star buffoon. The best laid plans of mice and men and all that.
Now that everything he's worked for is about to be destroyed by the monumental incompetence of Trump and the equally incompetent sycophants he's surrounded himself with, Erickson is desperate to lay the foundation for what comes next. He's hoping to pull another Tea Party scam in which all of the white Republican voters hit the reset button after Trump is gone; absolved of all their sins in supporting a corrupt and evil regime.
Unfortunately for Erickson, that's not going to happen. As I never get tired of repeating: Once you come out of the Nazi closet, you don't get to go back inside. White Republican voters have gleefully supported Trump's white nationalism and they don't get take that back. They wanted everyone to know who they are and now we do.
And we will never let them forget it.
There are 288 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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