Operation Husky, July-August 1943. Group of smiling Italian prisoners, trudging into a small town near Messina, Sicily, behind hastily rigged flags of surrender. U.S. Army Photograph via the Library of Congress. Public Domain. Accession #: LC-USZ62-98976

The 2016 election was an instructive point for many of those of us on the right. Where we’d labored for decades under the illusion that the “big tent” that included a very heterodox coalition that held at least one conservative belief was the beau ideal for the conservative movement we suddenly found that we were saddled with allies who were much more interested in gaining plaudits from the media and the left for “policing our own” than they were in actually winning elections and moving conservative principles forward. There were folks on the right who claimed that voting for Hillary Clinton was the best way to salvage conservatism. Many of these same people couldn’t be bothered to object to anything at all about Clinton but would fall on the floor and twitch and froth at the thought of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. What we discovered was that a lot of the people in the so-called big tent really didn’t care about advancing conservatism or rolling back the left, what they were in the tent for was to get their way. And when that didn’t happen, they were perfectly content to ally themselves with the left on matters from immigration to our relations with China to the Russia hoax and abandon what we’d been told were closely held principles simply to be visibly in opposition to President Trump and his administration. These people even aligned themselves with the Democrats to flip the House of Representatives, notwithstanding the fact that most of the victims of their duplicity were NeverTrump Republican representatives much like themselves, in order to cause as much grief as possible to the Trump Administration.

This election year, however, is actually making some of the worst of the Vichy Republicans look into the abyss and not like what they see. Yesterday the Twitter account “Reagan Battalion” sent this out. I don’t know or even have curiosity about who runs the account but it has been solidly in the “muh principles” gang in fluffing for Hillary Clinton, pushing every Russia hoax story imaginable, and generally denigrating actual conservatives who what to move the ball forward and are adult enough to realize you don’t always get your first choice in candidates.

Their fan club was not happy and they suddenly went from NeverTrump opinion leaders to just another Trump sycophant:

And the re-branding effort doesn’t seem to be going all that well:

Let’s not romanticize this conversion. The argument over Trump vs. socialism was on the table in the 2016 election. These people voted with socialism–only in 2016 the election wasn’t “binary” something that it apparently is today. The issue of Trump vs socialism has been on the table since January 21, 2017. While President Trump was trying to manage illegal immigration, enact pro-life policies, rein in the EPA and the regulatory Gestapo, limit the number of federal regulations being generated, reduce taxes, extricate us from wars without end or purpose, and unleash the wealth creating power of the American economy, these people were focused on his table manners, his tweets, and “Mueller Time.”

We’re going to see more of this as we head into 2020. The people who made their business model or raison d’être in pushing TDS are going to have to decide whether they are in politics to make a difference or for the cash. The top tier guys like Kristol and his cronies have already voted. They’d be perfectly happy with a President Harris and a Democrat senate because there is more money to be made in lecturing folks on how conservatism should be conserved than there is in taking on their liberal paymasters and actually fighting for conservative policies.

The real question is what do we, the people who’ve taken crap from these people as we tried to support policies that were pro-life, pro-religious freedom, and pro-American interests, do? Do we slaughter the fatted calf and welcome them home? Should we be gracious and understanding?

I think not. This movement is not one of people coming home. At best it is a belated recognition that the people they’d sucked up to really want to get rid of them as well as any other stripe of conservative (and one has to wonder why it took this long for them to figure this out). At worst it is a recognition that despite all the highly scientific polls showing Pete Buttigieg beating Trump in Florida an incumbent president is damned hard to beat, particularly when the economy is roaring and anyone who wants a job has one, and that this is a good time to segue from NeverTrump to “he’s yucky but he’s better than the other guy.” We can collaborate with them. We can work towards the common goal of re-electing President Trump and flipping the House. But we must never lose sight of the fact that they are not friends nor allies. They are like the Italians in 1943. Their old master is failing and they see opportunity for survival in attaching themselves to a new cause which looks more successful. They are perhaps useful, it is certainly better to have them as nominal allies rather than fighting them, but make no mistake about it, they are not to be trusted again. Ever.

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