Following up on Katie's post, as I wrote on Wednesday, partisan tribalism is a powerful thing. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry gave a brutal anti-Trump speech months ago, in which he called Trumpism a "cancer on conservatism."Allahpundit notes that the text is still live on his website. Remember this?
Donald Trump is the modern-day incarnation of the know-nothing movement. He espouses nativism, not conservatism. He is negative when conservatism is inherently optimistic. He would divide us along bloodlines, when conservatives believe our policies will work for people of all backgrounds. He has piqued the interest of some Republican voters who have legitimate concerns about a porous border and broken immigration system. But instead of offering those voters leadership or solutions, he has offered fear and soundbites. This cannot stand. Conservatism doesn’t foment agitation through identity politics. That’s what Democrats do. But as a supporter of socialized medicine, the stimulus package and Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump is quite suited to follow the Democrats’ example. I, for one, will not be silent when a candidate for the high office of president runs under the Republican banner by targeting millions of Hispanics, and our veterans, with mean-spirited vitriol...Resentment is the poison we swallow that we hope harms another. My fellow Republicans, don’t take the poison.
That was then. This is now. How's "the poison" tasting, Rick?
“He is one of the most talented people who has ever run for the president I have ever seen,” he added, saying Trump knows how to market and brand like no one he has ever seen…When asked if Perry would consider being Trump’s running mate, he left the door wide open. “I am going to be open to any way I can help. I am not going to say no,” Perry said.
Perry joins a long list of current and former GOP elected officials who are lining up to support the party's presumptive nominee, with the number of the temporary and permanent holdouts dwindling. My friend Peggy Noonan -- who just days ago penned a moving lamentation about the dreadful choices Americans face in 2016, referring to Trump as a "crazy man" -- has now turned around to chide #NeverTrump conservatives:
As someone who will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in November, I don't share the view of some fellow conservative anti-trumpers who seek to ostracize and shun any Republican who is now jumping on the bandwagon. I understand all of the sound reasons to back the party's standard-bearer, as I always have up to this point. To my surprise, it turns out there is a line I won't cross in the service of party loyalty, and Donald Trump is it. Others' line either doesn't exist, or lies elsewhere. Though I stand by my reasoning, I don't think it's productive for #NeverTrump to view the large majority of Team Red that will rally behind the nominee as the enemy. While I will not forget those who actively helped him secure the nomination during the primary process when he could have been stopped, the case for General Election coalescence is understandable. But I'm not sure I follow Noonan's derisive barb about re-making the GOP as a 'slash-the-entitlements' party in a post-Trump era. Dealing with the dangerous, destructive national debt is a mathematical proposition, about which only one party has been remotely serious. Paul Ryan has worked tirelessly to fashion an innovative and desperately-needed reform program that was politically palatable to the general public. He worked hard to sell his party on it, then proceeded to demonstrate that it wasn't electoral anathema. Donald Trump is in denial about the problem, and opposes real solutions. His latest proposal to deal with the debt is truly reckless and ludicrous; it would be savaged and ridiculed mercilessly by conservatives if a prominent liberal floated anything like it. Is Noonan suddenly so comfortable with Nominee Crazy Man (her words) that she's willing to blithely nudge the Republican Party into joining the Democrats in Debt Fantasyland? I'll leave you with this:
It was a spirited, respectful, and lengthy debate. Most of the audience members who raised their hands as 'Never Trump' at the conclusion? Women.