Former radio talk show host Charlie Sykes made a difference for a while. In Wisconsin, a truly politically competitive state, Sykes helped Republicans to top offices. But after a year of waving the #NeverTrump banner, his talk show is over and his role as an influential conservative long in the past.
Donald Trump goes to work in the White House each morning. Charlie Sykes goes to work at MSNBC.
To appreciate the paradox, you have to bear in mind that if not for Charlie Sykes, there’s a good chance Governor Scott Walker would not have prevailed over massive national-Democrat-led opposition — twice — in Wisconsin.
Sykes was a political force during those two battles, and he was reviled for it by the left.
“When you’ve devoted your whole life to certain beliefs and you think now they have been undermined and that you might have been deluded about things,” he began. “So. So. Um…”
His radio audience turned hostile and faded away, apparently having a clearer understanding than the host of what a “binary choice” actually means in a presidential election. Once touted as the guy who might single-handedly cost Donald Trump Wisconsin and the presidency, Sykes ended up the befuddled big loser.
….as former Wisconsin Democratic Chairman Mike Tate put it, “a guy who slowly fed poison to his dog for 10 years then, when the dog dies of poisoning, throws up his hands and says, ‘My God, how did that happen?’”
It is a sad tale. Sykes seemed to believe his #NeverTrump stance was going to put him on a pedestal of sorts, that there was “going to be a premium on conservatives” who turned their backs on Trump in November 2016.
That didn’t happen. And influence — or power, or pull, or whatever metaphor you want to use — which may not the the most important thing to political talk radio hosts, but once achieved is invaluable, is no longer part of Charlie Sykes’ resume, and likely never will be again. Delusion is hard to come back from.
Mark Levin’s Conservative Review TV has just fired Mark Steyn, which seems like an incredibly bad idea, although we on the outside have no way of knowing what went on. That’s the bad news. The ostensibly good news is that with Mark Steyn out at CRTV, the new featured talent in its lineup of celebrity conservatives is the notorious #NeverTrump Steve Deace.
But Conservative Review has always been a little dodgy, in our opinion, and recent personnel decisions suggest CRTV is yet another fixture in the Conservative Celebrity Industry, existing to extract cash from naive conservatives ($99 per year) and advertisers.
One could argue that Conservative Review’s history might make President Trump’s supporters leery of the new network, and that doubt might have been tempered by Steyn’s presence.
But Steve Deace moves the needle in the opposite direction.
Credibility-wise, therefore, one could argue CRTV just created a hurdle for themselves.
Clinton is cunning. Trump is a clown. This matchup was over before it began.
Most people have no idea who Steve Deace is, but nearly all conservatives are familiar with the man CRTV let go.
That would be Mark Steyn, the columnist/humorist whose productivity level rivals that of many industrial nations.
Mark Steyn, the premier, go-to guest host for the most listened to radio talk show host in America, Rush Limbaugh.
Mark Steyn, author of several excellent books including the singular America Alone, which will be seen 100 years from now as an omen for the West.
Mark Steyn, soldier on our behalf, much more than a keyboard-and-green-room warrior, who goes repeatedly to the front lines of international debate, exposing himself to actual damage, to argue the case for reality-based, er, reality, on topics such as Islam and climate change.
Not having been to one of these events that already had given the indications of a true cultural phenomenon, we were grateful for Steyn’s summary. Steyn has the rare combination of policy and politics expertise along with a rich understanding of popular culture — and an equally rich sense of humor — so his imprimatur had us, and likely many other conservatives, taking Trump seriously before the first caucus votes were cast.
Conservative Review certainly appreciated what they were getting with Steyn when they got him. It was seen as a coup at the time, and CR capitalized on the PR.
When the channel itself was revealed last fall — as an outgrowth of Levin’s own television network — Steyn and Conservative Review Senior Editor Michelle Malkin were billed as the top talent. Current paying subscribers to LevinTV were ported over to Conservative Review Television
When he announced the CRTV launch, Mark Levin credited the expansion to “a movement with millions of liberty lovers”
This is much bigger than any of us. It is about our beloved audience.
That beloved audience apparently doesn’t feel so loved all of a sudden.
Welcome to Glenn Becksville, population Glenn Beck. And you.
–unhappy CRTV subscriber after the network announced Mark Steyn’s firing on February 28.
Immediately after CRTV announced Steyn’s termination last night on their Facebook page, with zero explanation, many subscribers chimed in, the majority of whom do not seem pleased:
“Mark Steyn was the reason I subscribed to CRTV. I have little or no interest in the other shows.”
“I never missed Steyn’s show and it was a significant reason for my subscription. Not good…”
“Mark Steyn was the best on CRTV !!! He was the only reason why many viewers subscribed and me too.”
About all we know, with Mark Steyn out at CRTV, is that something went terribly wrong or they would never have given the boot to one of their premier draws.
Steyn has filed a lawsuit, so apart from noting yesterday morning that the termination with several years left on his contract was a complete suprise to him, it will probably be some time before we the public hear Steyn’s side of the story.
Deace is also one of America’s most over-the-top Donald Trump critics from the right, whose insults over the past year are voluminous, and quite often shocking — until one realizes that “conservative” nowadays means little more than brand positioning for the celebrity news media.
Before joining Levin’s CRTV, Deace was a talk show host in the Midwest, very active on Twitter, and frequent contributor at Conservative Review as well as other outlets.
For those unfamiliar with his work, here is a sampling of output from the mind of #NeverTrump Steve Deace:
Long will we reflect upon the wretched hive of scum and villainy at the top of the Trump Cult. It has anointed sellouts, sycophants, and race-baiters to the status of Republican Party elite, while casting its faithful and principled grassroots into the abyss.
From supposed alpha male to mere gelding. From bully on the block to bruised and bloodied. From bigly to bite-sized. Trump is now the very embodiment of the degrading term coined by his crassest followers for those who have been weighed, measured, and found wanting.
Donald Trump has cucked himself.
CRTV touts Steve Deace as someone who “shakes up the media establishment” when, in truth, Deace’s writing for the better part of a year has been lockstep with the mainstream media and most other left wing outlets.
If I were one of the Trump kids hoping to continue living the lifestyles of the rich and famous by coasting off daddy’s fumes long after he’s assumed room temperature, I’d be afraid. Very afraid, in fact….
Clinton is cunning. Trump is a clown. This matchup was over before it began.
Trump, like Nebuchadnezzar, was a symptom of the people’s (in this case, the party’s) failures, which would in turn “lay waste” to them:
Election 2016 was eminently winnable if not for the GOP’s own treachery. Come November 9th, the finger-pointing for this lost opportunity will commence. And yes, the usual suspects of those who covered for and shilled for Trump despite the obvious conservative alternatives should be held responsible for the loss.
But let us not forget that if Republicans had kept their 2010 and 2014 promises to truly fight back against Obama, the environment wouldn’t have been there for a Trump in the first place. Instead, he would’ve been laughed off the stage like the carnival-barking con man he is.
Thus creating a potentially devastating backlash among Hispanic voters (and many a white, college-educated voter as well)….
He took a contentious 50-50 issue and poured lighter fluid all over it to make it combustible. So we will have our work cut out for us to avoid a future when sanctuary cities evolve into a sanctuary nation.
Yes, Deace the Prognosticator has a knack for being wrong about the future on a par with Bill Kristol’s knack for being wrong about everything. Why, Evan McMullin was winning Utah, according to Deace.
Deace said he was pro-life, and therefore could not support Hillary Clinton, but he also did not trust Trump’s purportedly pro-life statements. So Deace is so rock-solidly pro-life that presumably he thought it made sense to work against Trump. Or at least that his listeners wouldn’t think too hard about Deace’s positions.
In short: This “binary choice” notion in presidential elections is a scam.
By standing on the “principle” of supposedly opposing both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, while dedicating virtually all of his public arguments from his public platform to denouncing Trump, Deace is one of those quasi-celebrities who depends on the stupidity of his audience to be taken seriously.
Deace may have claimed he supported neither candidate, but he did an awful lot to convince people not to vote for the Republican. That — a wee bit of logic reveals — means Deace was helping the Democrat. Period.
This type of breathtaking mendacity is common among the #NeverTrump group and, we believe, why so many of them have plummeted in public stature since the election. Normal people can see through the lies.
But. It strikes us as amazing that any supposed political expert could get away with such a disingenuous stance, let alone prosper in their field … but #NeverTrump Steve Deace did land the job at CRTV, so who knows, maybe there is a lot of dumb in the air. Or maybe CRTV has a soft spot for #NeverTrump, and is banking on nobody learning about Deace’s activities in 2016.
Of course, Deace in 2017 is still Deace. He now refers to President Trump as a “high energy Jeb.”
Continuing the comical stance he adopted last year as self-anointed arbiter of the “conservative movement,” Deace can be counted on to parrot the conventional media wisdom on most matters related to Trump, such as bemoaning the “fake news provocateurs and discredited conspiracists” now provided White House press access in place of the august traditional news outlets.
Again, following the media narrative, Deace reliably jumps on the “disaster for the Trump administration” du jour bandwagon, which was Deace’s modus operandi throughout the 2016 campaign. Only now, instead of insulting Trump and his family, Deace is telling the President how to be President, right down to advice on planning his day.
Sound crazy? Well, if you want a full-on experience of delusions of grandeur — in Deace’s case, we should probably call them delusions of relevance — by all means, read more by Steve Deace.
With the fire of a thousand bags of shit on America’s doorstep, flaming NeverTrump diehards like Rick Wilson and Marybeth Glenn are reaching supernova on this, the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as America’s 45th president. The day they screeched mockingly would never come, is here. And boy, they sure seem mad.
And boy, are they about to become irrelevant. Not merely “less relevant than the more influential people” but racing off into insignificance, actively fading from the realm of the germane, they will become like black holes in the social world.
Tonight they are objects of laughter but tomorrow and in the days to come they shall be objects of indifference and perhaps pity, former politicos whom only the twisted or stupid would heed.
But before we run down the list of burning head NeverTrumpers, let us point out one positive story that may bode well for the state of Virginia:
After writing what was quite possibly the dumbest political post of 2016, when the shellshock of Trump’s victory apparently still rang in his ears, Kenney did what Kenney rarely seems to do, which is to shut the hell up.
Though he still mucks about on Twitter Kenney has largely abandoned the topic of Donald Trump. But what we really appreciate: No more bloviating, self-righteous, holier-than-thou and more-conservative-than-thou blog posts – in fact no blog posts whatsoever. This is a huge improvement for America, for Virginia Republicans, and probably for the fate of Shaun Kenney’s immortal soul. Maybe after a few years of self-reflection, he will reappear bearing the mark of humility that, thus far, seems utterly foreign to the oh-so-godly conservatives at that faux-Republican website who ultimately failed to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
But you know who hasn’t shut up, but just keeps on keepin’ on like a man whose inner moron never sleeps? The bald, burning noggin of Rick Wilson – who just two years ago was, unbelievably, considered a witty, savvy GOP insider.
Today, Rick Wilson’s desperate attempts at wit consist of reposting items from left-wingers like Salon.com.
Tomorrow, Rick Wilson will watch the Republican Party turn the bend far down the road and leave him behind, forever.
Our next smoking ember of melted brain tissue is the Wisconsin wabbit, Charlie Sykes, who quit his gig as a “conservative” talk radio host and disappeared into a hole in the ground, piping up occasionally feeble, ignorant comments about America’s president-elect.
Irrelevance, outsider status, and being generally wrong about everything are a challenging trifecta for any career in political commentary, so it may be a long time before Charlie Sykes makes it back into the funny papers, much less an op-ed page that anyone wishes to read.
We can’t really talk about flaming NeverTrump diehards without mentioning the brightest burning head of all, David Frum: former White House speechwriter, current “editor” at a once-relevant media operation …
…and tomorrow, just another dumbass in America.
Because when you claim that anything coming out of Merkel’s government qualifies as a “stiff warning” to Donald Trump, then you, my friend, have beclowned yourself. Hard.
From certain beclownings, there is no coming back. And sadly enough for David Frum, the the circus has closed.
Finally on our list of heads exploding in fire with the ascension of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, is another Wisconsinite; Queen of the flaming NeverTrump diehards:
Marybeth: who alone knows good from evil. Marybeth: who alone recognizes Donald Trump as a monster.
Marybeth, who in one human being encompasses the entire spectrum of whining-toddler NeverTrumpism like perhaps none other whom the Lord has sent down from Crybaby Mountain to yell at His people.
Many Americans are giving Donald Trump a chance to at least get into office before judging his presidency, and many Republicans who at one time did not support Trump have recognized that Trump has earned their support for now, and could turn out better than many U.S. presidents – including the last two Republicans.
But there remain a few rabid NeverTrump disordered personalities, unique in their willful ignorance and in their lack of self-awareness. We marvel at their self-destruction.
Today, we can actually begin to count down the hours until Donald Trump assumes the presidency, and the flaming NeverTrump diehards are but a distant, unpleasant odor.
[A few thoughts inspired by the sad implosion that is Marybeth Glenn] — Dear conservative NeverTrump diehards, who denounced Donald Trump throughout 2016 and cannot quiet your chatterbox brains long enough to understand what just happened in America:
We who have not suffered neurological short-circuits almost feel sorry for you, and if not for your willful ignorance we’d probably promote public sympathy for you with tender entreaties and pictures of teddy bears.
But because you insist on being so loud and dumb we’re going in a different direction.
They think they are the conservative movement’s “remnant church,” the keepers of the flame of truth, when in fact they are the conservative movement’s crazy uncle.
They wear their bitterness like a soup-stained shirt. Their worldview, an alternate reality where everything Trump does is the Worst Thing Ever, becomes more tiresome each day.
When they talk, people don’t listen. What they write goes unread. They are the ones who fancy themselves kingly raconteurs of Facebook, but have long been unfollowed by most friends and left fulminating into the ether.
The NeverTrump lecturers share the familiar unhinged perspective that poses magical solutions to other people’s real-world problems, much like libertarians, Christian Reconstructionists, and other varieties of sociopathic egotists.
Of course, the world is full of Democrat kooks who will make surreal claims about any Republican, and whom many Americans find easy to ignore. But the NeverTrump crazies, we must admit, are actually knowledgeable about American politics and they present themselves as having a degree of expertise in their unending castigation of Trump.
They should, and probably do, know better.
They know that most presidents have made mistakes that have harmed the country. With presidents, we get problems. A Hillary Clinton presidency would have brought immense problems solely on the basis of what she said she would do, apart from the unintended or unstated consequences.
The NeverTrump conservatives know these things. They also know, therefore, that as far as we can tell at this point, Donald Trump could easily become one of the better conservative presidents. Might not happen, but it might. His cabinet appointments so far are promising. He might be better on immigration and federal spending than Reagan was. He might appoint better Supreme Court justices than did George H. Bush or his son. Could certainly be better than Nixon in many areas. And Trump surely may be better in every respect than every Democratic president going back half a century or longer.
From what we can see so far, there is no reason on earth to be pessimistic about Trump based on our experience with the Bushes or any other president of the past fifty years.
Yet, somehow, with Trump still weeks away from taking office, the NeverTrump critics – often boasting a mantle of Godly righteousness – find it worthwhile to expend effort tearing down his every move. They spend far more time on this than any of them spent criticizing Hillary Clinton – or, for that matter, Barack Obama, during the past few years.
Unlike Trump whom the NeverTrump egotists predict will fail, the Republican Congress has in fact failed miserably in living up to their pre-election promises for several elections now but, oddly, NeverTrump conservatives are willing to give that record a thorough whitewash.
An impartial observer would have to say that is some pretty nasty BS you are trying to dump on Americans.
So to you, dear conservative NeverTrump has-beens, let us say: We have you figured out. And your predicament is not complicated.
You are on the outside looking in. Your opportunities for greater fame, money, and especially influence, vanished on the morning of November 9. Your subsequent humiliation, and need to basically find a new reason for anyone to pay attention, signal your descent into irrelevance.
You bet on the wrong horse.
We get it: To any self-imagined conservative hotshot, this is Hell. And nobody should listen to the voices from the outer darkness.
Today Charlie Sykes exits the Wisconsin radio hosting job he held for many years. Undoubtedly some of his fans will miss him, as will the few Republicans and conservatives whom Charlie has not written off as “broken” or “deeply compromised.”
For the vast majority of Americans, Sykes’ departure from the public stage will be met with a heartfelt “Charlie who?”
A vocal #NeverTrump conservative, Sykes is one of the diehard commandos who donned the cloak of self-righteousness when other observers began to take a realistic view of the Trump phenomenon.
Fitting perfectly the template of self-absorbed kindergartner, Sykes early on and after the election explained away “Trumpism” as the degradation of righteousness and character on a massive scale, afflicting everyone supporting the Republican presidential ticket.
Apart from a tiny group – a “small desert island” – of intact believers on the Right, including himself, Sykes sees conservatism itself as “damaged.”
A regular, unsurprisingly, on MSNBC, Sykes used the liberal platform of the New York Times to remind everyone that we was making good on his promise to take his dolly and dishes and bid the Party adieu.
I was under the impression that conservatives actually believed things about free trade, balanced budgets, character and respect for constitutional rights. Then along came this campaign.
I thought that I was well within the mainstream of conservative thought — only to find conservative Trump critics denounced for apostasy by a right that decided that it was comfortable with embracing Trumpism.
The American people, you see, have let Charlie Sykes down.
Which, incidentally, vaguely reminds us of someone else – we can’t quite put our finger on whom – whose grandiose sense of self seems almost like a learning disorder, causing him to vastly overrate his own competence to the point of being unable to acknowledge his own failures.
The future that Charlie sees is a frightening one, with a “weaponized media” aimed at Donald Trump’s critics – which sounds scary until one gives it a nanosecond of thought, whereupon one realizes that Charlie the media guy is actually projecting a teeny bit. After all, Charlie himself and his doggedly anti-Trump website served pretty consistent artillary duty attacking Trump and Trump’s supporters throughout 2016.
We’ll continue to read Charlie as a psychological case study, but we believe that America and the conservative movement will be fairly unaffected by his exit from the radio waves. We predict he will be found on MSNBC or similar left-wing media outlets with ongoing regularity. He may prove us wrong, but in our experience the narcissist requires an audience.
Shortly after the November 8 presidential election in which Donald Trump lost the state of Virginia, Bearing Drift’s Shaun Kenney wrote a howler of a blog post essentially blaming Corey Stewart for the 2016 Virginia Republican loss – despite the fact an obvious case could be made that in fact Bearing Drift lost Virginia for the Republicans.
Corey Stewart is running for the 2017 Republican nomination for Virginia governor against, among others, Kenney’s former boss, Ed Gillespie.
It was an interesting argument for Kenney to make because, first, it may signal an ongoing NeverTrump proxy war in Virginia throughout 2017, but also because we think it denoted Shaun Kenney’s “Oh shit” moment upon realizing the full import of the November 8 results.
One could argue that several Bearing Drift writers played a key role in helping Republicans lose Virginia in 2016, by encouraging people not to vote for the Republican presidential ticket.
There is no need to even build a case that Bearing Drift was a major source of anti-Trump vitriol beginning at least last December. In our view, Bearing Drift owned the Republican anti-Trump propaganda effort in the state.
Instead of listing all their broadsides, therefore, let’s just review some of the impact. After all, Bearing Drift proudly bills itself as “Virginia’s loudest and most read conservative website” and “one of the leading voices of Republicans in Virginia.” Lest any doubts remain about their GOP pedigree, they profess dedication to upholding the state Party’s “Republican Creed.”
For many Virginia voters still unacquainted with Donald Trump as a politician, this forceful condemnation referencing the Constitution by prominent Republicans likely helped define the candidate very early in the process. It was an unfortunate role for an ostensibly “Republican” website to take, since U.S. law gives the president authority, literally, to keep out of the country anyone he wants to keep out. It’s all right there in 8 USC §1182. The Bearing Drift attack was based on a misreading of the Constitution and the law.
Here’s what Shaun Kenney, the respected former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, recently declared he would do if Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee:
“I will work actively against him to ensure his defeat in the general election should he obtain the Republican nomination. In this, I am not alone. Millions of Americans will not pull the lever for Trump. Millions more are absolutely sickened by the jackbooted tactics of a militated few.”
This is an uncommonly blunt declaration for a prominent party operative to make about his own party’s likely Presidential nominee.
Yes, it certainly was uncommon, and you can bet that Republican and center-right voters who normally might not have read the Bearing Drift blog took notice when Kenney’s educational lesson was published by the city paper.
At the other corner of the state, in a September story reprinted in the Washington Post, the major daily noted Bearing Drift’s “deluge of anti-Trump postings” to support the paper’s claim of “damage Trump has wrought in Virginia.”
When one of America’s most vocal NeverTrump Republicans, Liz Mair, was building the case for Republicans to vote for the Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, she invoked a Bearing Drift poll which actually only comprised a paltry 207 responses – but goes to show how Bearing Drift’s anti-Trump message spread through the force multiplier effect of other web channels.
Kenney was also the Democrats’ hero when Virginia’s most influential progressive blog, Blue Virginia, featured two Bearing Drift columns to paint the picture of decent Republicans turning against Donald Trump.
The Democrat blogger was referring to this Shaun Kenney post tearing into colleagues at Bearing Drift for having the temerity to suggest there might be rationales for voting for Donald Trump and for insisting on the quite traditional belief that Party membership requires a certain degree of loyalty to its candidates over non-Republicans.
And this latter example of giving aid and comfort to the enemy illustrates why we think Bearing Drift occupies such a dubious role in the Republican community: We believe that Bearing Drift lost Virginia on November 8, 2016. But it was a greater offense – a worse act of sabotage, in our opinion – that a prominent, “respected” Republican was so bitterly critical of other Republicans who were attempting to follow the Party rules in good faith.
In our view, that is execrable behavior within the Party, albeit called “heroic” by Leftists.
Throughout 2016, Bearing Drift produced a constant stream of articles denouncing Trump and Trump’s supporters, feeding the narrative that Trump would lose, and most importantly, giving voters reasons not to vote for the Republican presidential candidate.
Chief among these posts that in our opinion served as powerful Republican vote suppressors was Brian Schoeneman’s argument that fear of Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court appointments was no reason to vote Republican. If there were any dominant argument proffered by the GOP to vote for Trump, nationwide, it was to raise the specter of a liberal Supreme Court for the next 30 years. In approximately 5,000 words, Schoeneman basically says: There is no proof a Clinton Supreme Court would be terrible.
Less loud but equally fervent, and possibly the most influential of the Bearing Drift anti-Republican activists during the 2016 presidential election, Jim Hoeft did not couch his plea to vote against the Republican ticket in complex or lengthy rhetoric. Yes, he promoted the bad news for Trump but he mainly stuck to the simple argument that: The 2016 election was NOT actually a binary choice – for the Godly conservative – voting for a third-party was both defensible and righteous – and therefore the “only two options for president” were Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin. Published exactly one month prior to the election, the column by Hoeft probably sealed the deal for a number of Virginia voters who were worried a third-party vote was a wasted vote.
Amid the flurry of biased news reports and amazingly inaccurate polling analyses prior to the presidential election, Schoeneman, Kenney, and Hoeft gave Virginia voters numerous rationales not to vote for the Republican presidential ticket. These recognized conservative voices with decent (we admit) persuasive writing skills undoubtedly swayed voters – and we believe made a crucial difference in the final vote.
Hillary Clinton vote margin over Donald Trump:
Some may argue that the third-party total includes votes – especially for Jill Stein, and write-ins – that may have had nothing to do with Bearing Drift’s pleas to Republicans. We would agree we can’t blame all defections on Bearing Drift.
But we have not addressed the additional important, but murky, area of Republican voters persuaded by Bearing Drift not to vote third-party, but to positively vote for Hillary Clinton.
So who really lost the state for the Republicans? We believe Bearing Drift lost Virginia.
And Corey Stewart might invite the Godly conservatives to take a hike up Old Rag to seek a vision or burning bush or other such humbling encounter.
In any case, we think it’s laughable to lay the blame on Corey Stewart, who actually supported the Trump ticket – although we understand why Shaun Kenney would wish to do so. When one is supposedly an influential Republican and a more-righteous-than-thou conservative in the commentary and consulting world, being proven devastatingly wrong, is a Very Bad Place To Be. The fault must be deflected, pronto.
In fact, judging by both pre- and post-election commentary at Bearing Drift, our entire Kindergartner post probably could have been constructed with examples from Schoeneman, Kenney, and Hoeft.
Rude, thuggish, debased, self-absorbed: Bearing Drift has shown it all in 2016.
But one more bit of weirdness they demonstrate which also seems endemic to NeverTrump “conservatives” is a bizarre degree of self-regard.
Minor provocations, it seems, are all it takes for Kenney and Hoeft in particular to break out their own renditions of the superiority dance. Whether as “conservatives” or “Republicans” or Godly men after the old, old – and by “old” we mean in the “Testament” sense – fashion, they can hold forth like nobody’s business.
We’re not ready to say they are completely full of themselves, but most Bearing Drift columns give the impression of being written under the watchful gaze of a painting of the Bearing Drift writer.
You can often sense a geyser of self-righteous fulmination bubbling just beneath the surface.
In what seems like every third post, the bloggers launch into tirades in an authorial style we call “Vomit of Pharisaical Cliches,” a word salad composed of digested truisms, catch phrases, essays, and sermons, coming back up all over your screen, along with spittle, bile, and unctuous fluids of self-anointing.
Don’t look too hard for meaning or even logical sentences, because the discharge is mainly self-serving sophistry predicated on the writer’s own righteousness. Words pour forth with heavenly fury that neither reason nor Fowler’s nor Strunk & White shall hinder.
While Kenney appears to have scaled back his blogging since the election (but is still listed as an editor), we will continue to follow Mssrs Schoeneman and Hoeft in the coming year as the Virginia race for governor takes shape. A cursory review of Bearing Drift indicates they are not overly friendly to Corey Stewart, the Trump supporter, although that stance may change as the Trump administration becomes a reality.
We would hope to be able to report, in the future, that despite the fact Bearing Drift lost Virginia in 2016, the writers learn something from the failure besides doubling down in self-defensive self-righteousness.
As The Hill reported recently, a few former NeverTrump conservatives are quietly transitioning to “I didn’t mean NEVER Trump,” possibly to salvage their careers on the assumption that everyone they spent 2016 spouting off to will have short memories.
A dedicated corps of NeverTrump true believers refuses to accept the war is over. They’ve slathered themselves in mud, donned the boots they will die in, and fire volleys from their caves, seemingly following orders from long ago.
Let us note that out in the wilderness is a very bad place to be for political movers and shakers which, in their own minds at least, likely describes every single NeverTrumper. We offer this observation to explain what appears to be a mass descent into madness.
Their careers likely are wound up with their self-images as indispensable political experts, but they have just proven to be not only quite dispensable, but also laughable. Once the Trump Administration is in the White House, these formerly influential Republicans will no longer be the jokers, but the butts-of-jokes.
They have not been merely mistaken about the 2016 election, but have been so flamboyantly and persistently wrong they’re sort of hard to figure out.
Reading their bizarre post-election statements, one has to ask “Who could take this crap seriously?”
The answer is: no one with a brain.
But NeverTrump conservatives, who at one time were each viewed as intelligent people, seem unaware that when your sphere of influence is a circle of fools, you are probably seen as not too bright yourself.
To understand these odd ducks, these eternal soldiers of the petulant mind, we need look not to the Japanese Lubang holdouts but, much closer to home, to the kindergartner in the back seat of the car.
Psychologically, the NeverTrump conservative and the American 5-year old are the same person. Here are the key signs to look for:
1. Rude in victory:
If you’ve spent any time with the average kindergartner, you know that when they get their way, they’re happy but it’s a giddy sort of joy, frequently boisterous and graceless toward those who wanted something different.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, NeverTrump conservatives were champagne-popping dictators-in-waiting, as well as budding Torquemadas, obviously planning for a Trump shellacking and power vacuum in the Republican Party. They began celebrating and leveling insults, and announced purges, punishments, and blacklists, before the first votes were counted.
David Frum promised “a scorched earth period of recrimination” in the Republican Party against Trump supporters.
With a dark warning of plans for “holding current and future Republican leaders accountable for their acceptance of Trump and other non-Republican con artists,” a group of anti-Trump Republicans unveiled their agenda to clean house at the GOP.
Displaying that same vengeance fever, Marybeth Glenn, the Angriest Christian In Wisconsin, promised such a “hostile environment” for that “subset of the GOP” after Trump’s upcoming loss, that they would either change or leave – but would never be trusted: “Forgive those who messed up, but don’t let them forget it.”
Retribution and mockery were the drivers of #NeverTrump social media:
2. Thuggish in defeat:
But when someone else gets their way, watch out. The kid who lost out often retreats into an irrationally gloomy world, with the menacing portent: “It’s going to be TERRIBLE now.”
As we now know, Trump supporters chose wisely, causing the denouncers to look like fools themselves. Donald Trump is the top figure in the Republican Party, soon to be commander-in-chief. His wife and son will reflect on the insults as the First Family. And generally, those who did the threatening and premature grave dancing have a long, maybe impossible, journey back to credibility.
Unlike those who after the election sought forgiveness, the NeverTrump holdouts have doubled down, declaring how awful everything will now be, how every rumor and every Trump decision signal a disastrous and totally non-“conservative” presidency.
Having no historical basis to justify their portentous claims, since the last two Republican presidents were themselves pretty atrocious “conservatives,” the NeverTrump conservatives apparently intend to sway us with their moral authority and their credibility.
It has been so frankly surreal we could fill volumes, and likely will in the future. For now, a wafting from their burning heads will suffice.
In the final days before the election, we will present our “closing arguments” by NeverTrump Republicans as to why voters should NOT vote for the Republican presidential candidate. In other words: Republicans helping torpedo the Trump campaign and elect Hillary Clinton. Here we give you Clinton Republican Jim Hoeft.
We’ve noted Virginia as crucial in determining the next president, and Bearing Drift as probably the most influential Republican website in the state. How fantastic for the Hillary Clinton campaign that these Republican influencers have spent so much energy this year promoting reasons for Republican voters to abandon the Republican presidential candidate!
Convincing Republican voters not to vote Republican is the biggest boost anyone could have given Hillary in her quest for the White House.
And what an irony these useful Republicans are: It was some old white men in Virginia, after all, who bequeathed the odious sections of the “Bill of Rights” that enshrined religious bigotry and unlimited access to guns in our Constitution. Now, we believe, thanks in large part to these modern-day Virginians at Bearing Drift, Hillary Clinton will win the presidency and appoint a Supreme Court that will finally do away with the irresponsible aspects of the Constitution. Virginia has finally redeemed itself!
In October when many voters were making up their minds about the candidates, Clinton Republican Jim Hoeft argued in 2016, conservative voters tempted to vote for Trump should remember the “right way” is “living out our faith” amidst a movement “infested with liberal and populist thought.” We love this argument because, as we always say, voters who are not going to vote Democratic need to think of their votes as primarily symbolic.
But what we loved the most was Hoeft’s clear declaration that Virginia conservatives have two clear choices in the ballot, and none of them are Donald Trump:
What we’re talking about is what Trump said and who he is. And, as the old axiom goes, past actions are an indication of future behavior.
At this point, there is no way I can support Donald Trump for president…
For me, there are now only two options for president, and it will be something we at Bearing Drift will explore as much as we can in the coming weeks: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, and Evan McMullin, an independent and former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference.
What was the import of Trump’s very rude comments from 2005? That Virginians should turn away, once and for all, from the Republican presidential candidate. Supported by the news organizations and so many public officials, Jim Hoeft’s condemnation sealed the deal against Trump, we believe, for many people in the bellwether state.
(The strange state of Virginia is where Republican infighting – according to our sources there – virtually handed the governorship to our own Terry McAuliffe several years ago. McAuliffe just yesterday granted last-minute voting rights to 60,000 new voters who we feel are almost a lock to vote for Hillary. We are told, also, that some of the Republican faction who helped McAuliffe to victory received sympathetic treatment at Bearing Drift. Once again we say, therefore: God bless Bearing Drift for helping us transform America!)
Like some other conservatives, Clinton Republican Jim Hoeft has very recently attempted to fudge his position against voting for Trump, but we Democrats feel such modesty is totally unnecessary. We will continue to give credit where credit is due, because we love the useful Republicans that much. The #NeverTrump folks made the difference when it counted, when voters were looking earnestly for expert guidance. We intend to reward our Clinton Republican accomplices with recognition like a gold-plated anchor around their necks, every time their assistance to Hillary becomes relevant, for a long time.
Without help from influential politicos like Clinton Republican Jim Hoeft, Hillary Clinton would never have had a chance to return to the White House. For this historic effort, America needs to thank and remember Jim Hoeft.