The Never Trumpers say they don’t recognize a Republican Party where the core tenets are neither free trade nor foreign democracy promotion. But maybe they just didn’t know their voters by sight, because the only party that has truly departed recognition is Never Trump.
Each week brings this movement a new and bizarre position: Opposing tax cuts, supporting Obamacare; wishing North Korean talks ill, wishing Democratic investigators well; dreaming of European political meddling, pining for American political comeuppance. [snip]
Though the president’s House was defeated in the first post-Trump national elections and his two-year approval among Democrats lies at historic lows, his approval with his own voters -- those who the Never Trumpers courted not long ago -- is second only to George W. Bush after 9/11.
As the second year of Trump’s presidency ends, these former Republicans have insulted and alienated their readers until they had none. They’ve squandered their time on unimportant, self-righteous panel discussions, finally reduced to bobbing up in partisan anti-Trump venues surrounded by men and women who called them war criminals just years before, buoyed for a time by saying the right thing about the right enemy.
NAFTA, mean words and Donald Trump cannot possibly be the origin of these shattered minds, however vital those were to the breaking.
In the same classic misreading of the base, this week Mitt Romney penned a foolish anti-Trump opinion editorial in the heart of D.C. darkness, the Washington Post.
A number of writers responded to this obvious effort to make himself stand out as the new McCain, a Republican willing to destroy the party’s leader for (temporary) press approval.
Steve Hayward nailed it nicely at Power Line blog:
Romney has unwittingly provided the devastating argument against his style of Republicanism. Yes, it is quite true that nearly all Republican presidential candidates -- and presidents -- have promoted tax reform, lower regulation, getting tough with China, and appointing better judges (and add in moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem), if by “promoted” you mean giving lip service to the ideas.
None of them have delivered on these “promoted” ideas (Reagan excepted, of course). The two presidents Bush botched judicial appointments, extended regulation, delivered little in the way of serious tax or spending reform, and did nothing serious with regard to China. I wish Romney had defeated Obama in 2012, but does anyone think this Massachusetts technocrat, who gave us the state-level version of Obamacare in the Bay State, signed up for a regional climate change cap-and-trade scheme, who appointed the egregious Gina McCarthy (Obama’s second EPA administrator) to be his environmental adviser, and appointed state judges who struck the first judicial blows for same-sex marriage, would have governed as a serious conservative had he won?
The point is, Trump has proved that “mainstream Republicanism” was a colossal failure. Whereas Bush-Romney Republicans “promoted” good ideas, Trump has delivered on them.