The once-vast universe of the NeverTrumpers is shrinking by the day – to the point where even some of those conservatives who once identified with the movement rarely speak out against the president. And hell, we don’t blame them.
In fact, we’re more surprised by the fact that there are still ANY NeverTrump conservatives out there who dare to show their face in public. Your David Frums, your Ana Navarros, your Nicole Wallaces, your Bill Kristols. How do these people look at themselves in the mirror every morning and still claim the mantle of “true” conservatism?
At one point, these people were a real obstacle. Now, though? They’re just an embarrassment. They have revealed that they are either A) Not real conservatives at all (Navarro and Wallace). Or B) They would rather sit in their ivory towers and pontificate on “real” conservatism from a distance than actually implement conservative policy (Kristol). Or C) They are the New York Times’ idea of what a conservative should be, which is to say, a liberal who occasionally talks nice about the free market (Frum, George Will, Bret Stephens, etc.).
This week, the Heritage Foundation – the gatekeepers of American conservatism – came out with a bombshell review that should put the nail in the coffin of the NeverTrump movement. In it, they found that not only is President Donald Trump effecting extraordinary conservative change, he’s doing it at a faster pace than any of his predecessors – including the man Rush Limbaugh likes to call Ronaldus Magnus.
“There is so much noise in this town that I think it obscures the real work that’s being done,” said Heritage president Kay Coles James. “This administration is doing quite well in terms of advancing a conservative agenda — clearly, quite well.”
In remarks to the Times, former Heritage president Ed Feulner agreed, saying that Trump’s non-Washington attitude had left him free to do things other Republicans were scared to try. “Hell, why can’t we do that?” he said of Trump’s approach. “Let’s try it. Let’s make it happen. In some respects, Trump the non-politician has an incredible advantage, even over Ronald Reagan. Because Ronald Reagan knew there were certain things government couldn’t do.”
Hmm, that’s so familiar. Where have we heard that before? Oh right, we heard it coming from our own mouths and the mouths of other conservatives who knew there was something special about Trump when he began dominating the Republican primaries. No, he wasn’t a litmus-test conservative by any stretch, and no, he wasn’t going to be anyone’s model of decorum in the White House. But could he get stuff done? Could he beat back the rising tide of socialism that had decorated Obama’s reign? Could he right the ship? Yeah, we thought that maybe he could. And maybe he alone.
The NeverTrumpers, though, believed that Hillary Clinton was the better choice. We should not soon let them forget it.