The NeverTrumpster is on the horns of a dilemma, for if Trump is the faux conservative that they claims he is, then so too are presidential candidates that they’ve supported the same. On the other hand, if the latter are conservative, then so too is Trump conservative.
John McCain 2008
A self-confessed admirer of Big Government “progressive” Theodore Roosevelt, McCain allied with another Teddy—Ted Kennedy—to grant amnesty to 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants. He as well joined with Democrat Russ Feingold to pass “campaign finance reform,” a set of federally-imposed restrictions on the first amendment that the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional.
McCain rejected George W. Bush’s tax cuts “for the rich,” and he joined the “Gang of 14,” a bipartisan coalition of Republican and Democrat senators that existed for the sake of enabling the Democrat minority to block those of President Bush’s judicial nominees, like Sam Alito, who McCain described as “too conservative,” to make it to the bench (Unfortunately for McCain, Alito survived the confirmation hearings).
McCain, a firm believer in anthropogenic “global warming,” proposed “cap and trade” legislation, a move that, had it been successful, would’ve left “the American economy in tatters”; supported using taxpayers’ monies via the federal government for embryonic stem cell research; and, while claiming to be “pro-life,” never tired of castigating Republicans for talking about abortion.
The NeverTrumpster states as a reason for rejecting Trump the latter’s “temperament.” Yet as both Democrat and Republican sources have verified, McCain has a notoriously terrible temper. On multiple occasions, he has berated and cursed out those of his colleagues—and his fellow Republicans to boot!—with whom he has disagreed. John “McNasty” McCain is as well known for making off-color remarks and, allegedly, has even gotten physical with people who have upset him.
Mitt Romney 2012
This Massachusetts liberal was the darling of the NeverTrumpster during the primaries of both 2008 and 2012. National Review, far from sponsoring an “Against Romney” symposium, endorsed him—twice. So too did those “conservative” talk radio hosts who are now weeping over Ted Cruz’s defeat.
Both the politically opportunistic timing as well as the blatant nature of Romney’s “flip flops” over a range of issues made him the classic textbook case of the shameless politician.
However, the NeverTrumpster assured us, Romney had “evolved.” It didn’t matter how many different positions Romney held. It didn’t matter that his “Romneycare” was the blueprint for Obamacare, or that he ran to the left of Ted Kennedy in their Massachusetts senate race on the issues of abortion, “gay marriage,” and the rights of gun owners. It didn’t matter that he praised portions of Obamacare during his first debate with the President, or that he substantially raised taxes while governor of Massachusetts—“conservatives” still supported him.
It didn’t matter that, six years after Ronald Reagan left office, Romney claimed to have left the Republican Party because of the harm allegedly inflicted upon its label courtesy of Reagan.
The NeverTrumpster embraced the real Romney.
George W. Bush
To this day, the NeverTrumpster refuses to recognize this “conservative” president for the Big Government “progressive” that he was.
Yet Bush II caused massive—indeed, quite possibly unprecedented—damage on the Republican Party. Thanks to our 43rd president, the country witnessed the GOP-dominated Congress that Bush II inherited transform into a Congress with Democrat supermajorities in both chambers.
Bush’s role in thrusting the country leftward can’t be overstated. As even Mark Levin, a one-time self-described “big fan” of Bush, concedes, the federal government grew under 43 at a rate that significantly surpassed that at which it expanded under LBJ’s “Great Society!”
Amnesty; McCain-Feingold; No Child Left Behind; the Homeownership Society; federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research; Medicare part B; the creation of the bureaucratic behemoth, Department of Homeland Security; TARP; the Economic Stimulus and Housing and Economic Recovery Acts of 2008—these are just some of the ways in which our last “conservative” president advanced the cause of centralization and social “progressivism.”
However, while Trumpphobes (as well as, to be fair, many in the “conservative” media who are now styling themselves opponents of “the Establishment”) would have us forget this, Bush, not unlike Woodrow Wilson in an earlier era, insisted upon taking his “progressivism” (and the rest of us) global so as to make the world, the Islamic world specifically, “safe for Democracy” under the pretext of the “War on Terror.”
What about Reagan? Well, this “conservative” president whose legacy Trump supposedly threatens to squander, upon cutting taxes in ’81, proceeded to raise taxes 11 times in subsequent years. And he raised payroll taxes to pay for “government-run healthcare,” i.e. Medicare (as well as to subsidize Social Security). Medicaid expanded under Reagan.
Reagan amnestied millions of illegal immigrants; “cut and run” when over 240 Marines were murdered fighting Islamic terrorists; appointed two left-leaning justices to the Supreme Court; and, once his tenure was over, supported the Brady bill.
As governor of California, this celebrity-turned-politician (sounds very contemporary, does it not?)—who didn’t become a Republican until he was in his 50’s--legalized abortion, imposed both “gun-control” and the largest tax increase in the history of the state, and proposed mandatory health insurance.
The NeverTrumpster’s dilemma is inescapable: If these GOP presidential candidates are “conservative,” then so too is Trump the same. On the other hand, if Trump is not a conservative, then neither is these “conservative” candidates anything of the kind.