A while ago, on the Twitterz, someone asked why the NeverTrumper conservatives aren’t joining the Democratic Party, since other similar cases have resulted in party shifts. The answer is straightforward: NeverTrumpers believe that there will be a happy ending for them in all of this. Once the ‘state of emergency’–that is, Il Trumpe–is gone, things can go back to normal for NeverTrumpers, who, perhaps other than immigration and trade policy, are pretty copasetic with what Trump has done. They also believe that they themselves have played no part in the rise of Trump–who is just a more effective version of Sarah Palin. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s turn this over to Charles Pierce who raises some excellent points, in the form of an exam (I’ll choose the highlights; boldface mine):
So, Nicolle, and Steve Schmidt, and Michael Steele, and Rick Wilson, and Joe Scarborough, and Butcher’s Bill Kristol, and Andrew Sullivan, and David Frum, and the rest of you. Please take out your No. 2 pencils, open your test booklets and begin. We start with an easy one.
1) Many of you have expressed your dismay at how Sinclair Broadcasting forced its local anchors to read a canned statement about the curse of “fake news,” divining, correctly, that this was the company’s way of delegitimizing serious coverage of the many and varied corruptions of the current administration*. In 2004, when Sinclair forced its local stations to run a meretricious fake documentary slandering John Kerry’s service in Vietnam, were you as offended as you are today? Were you public with your disapproval? Did you take your concerns to upper echelons in the Bush campaign and the Bush White House? To whom did you take them?
3) Please explain in detail how you, because of your deep concern for political civility and an open marketplace of ideas, pushed back against the vicious attacks by Bush administration officials, and conservative journalists, who were critical of Americans who doubted the phony case for the invasion of Iraq. Please explain Andrew Sullivan’s famous “Fifth Column” essay in light of how Donald Trump talks about his political opponents. Bonus Question: Please discuss the Bush Administration’s assaults on the UN weapons inspectors in the context of the Trump Administration’s assaults on the credibility of the FBI?
4) In one sentence or less, please describe the political style and impact on the nation of the following: Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Mercer family, the Koch Family, the Bradley Family. Please include details of the positive contributions of each of these to the political life of the nation.
6) Please explain, in detail, all efforts you made within the Republican Party during election seasons, to counter the influence of radical conservative splinter Protestantism on the party’s policies toward the following: reproductive rights, public schools, the rights of LGBTQ citizens. Bonus Question: Please write in detail the complaints you made when gay marriage bans were specifically targeted.
9) Given your concern about ratfcking in political campaigns, please explain all the steps you took to fight the Republican party’s voter-suppression campaign in Florida in 2000.
And, finally, write a 500-word essay on one of the following topics:
1) Donald Trump’s attempted politicization of the Justice Department is different than Karl Rove’s attempted politicization of the Justice Department.
2) Donald Trump’s corrupt Cabinet is different than Ronald Reagan’s corrupt Cabinet.
3) Michael Cohen is a thug while Karl Rove is a visionary political philosophe.
They don’t get to have a good ending from this story. They were more than willing to ride this tiger on the way up, which was very lucrative for many of them, when things were going well and they were gaining power. But now, in the eleventh hour as the Orange Faced Beast Golf Carts Towards Bethlehem, they claim that they bear no responsibility for what has happened. That their politics and their policies are in no way whatsoever relevant to the predicament we find ourselves in. They truly believe that they themselves will not be held to account.
The NeverTrumpers do not deserve any glory or reward in this. This is belated, much too belated, penance. It is up to us to make sure that they are remembered correctly.