A few years ago I had a run-in with Tom Nichols on twitter. I no longer recall the details, but he posted something that was obvious nonsense and I responded with a link to the facts. His instant response was to call me stupid and then block me. Needless to say that left me with a bad impression. It’s the sort of behavior you get from insecure drama queens, who worry that one day people will discover that they are complete phonies. That is, of course, the story with Tom Nichols, who has just posted this long hissy fit.
Unlike Senator Susan Collins, who took pages upon pages of text on national television to tell us something we already knew, I will cut right to the chase: I am out of the Republican Party.
I can only imagine how hard it was for him to write that while wiping the tears from his eyes. My goodness. Prepubescent girls have hardier constitutions. Given his hysterics over Trump the last three years, what took this guy so long to figure out he was no longer wanted? George Will got out early, making it clear he did not like the sorts of people who voted for the Republicans. Bill Kristol and the other freaks in the neocon clown car became open subversives. Self-professed genius Tom Nichols needed three years?
Small things sometimes matter, and Collins is among the smallest of things in the political world. And yet, she helped me finally accept what I had been denying. Her speech on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh convinced me that the Republican Party now exists for one reason, and one reason only: for the exercise of raw political power, and not for ends I would otherwise applaud or even support.
I have written on social media and elsewhere how I feel about Kavanaugh’s nomination. I initially viewed his nomination positively, as a standard GOP judicial appointment; then grew concerned about whether he should continue on as a nominee with the accusations against him; and finally, was appalled by his behavior in front of the Senate.
What self-professed super genius Tom Nichols is telling us is that his opinions are formed in the minds of others. When it looked like Trump had selected a Kennedy clone that would pass muster with the Democrats, self-professed super genius Tom Nichols was down with the nominee. Then the Left went crazy and self-professed super genius Tom Nichols realized Kavanaugh was a monster. When the Left attacked Kavanaugh for defending himself, self-professed super genius Tom Nichols agreed with them.
What a coincidence!
Self-professed super genius Tom Nichols is a fine example of the right-wing edgytarian that I described in this post. The short version is that he stakes out his positions just inside the line of what Lefty finds acceptable. That way he can pretend to be a conservative of some sort, but never get in any real trouble with Lefty. This type of feckless weasel has been a feature of Lefty chat shows for years. In order to maintain the act, these guys operate like a shadow, following the Left around, always aware of that line.
The remarkable thing about this tirade by self-professed super genius Tom Nichols is that it reveals he is not much of a super-genius. He’s shocked to learn that “the Republican Party now exists for one reason, and one reason only: for the exercise of raw political power.” This is guy who claims to be an expert on political science, but he is shocked to learn that politics goes on in political parties? The funny thing is there’s no reason to think this is a pose. He really is that dumb. He is surprised to learn politics is about politics.
There is the possibility that these so-called principled conservative have been smelling their own farts for so long they are delusional. Their endless chanting the last dozen years about principles may have created some strange form of Stockholm syndrome, where they have become emotionally attached to the excuses they were making for the disaster that was the Bush years. That’s something that does not get enough mention. These guys all became principled conservatives when their polices nearly destroyed the country.
The Republicans, however, have now eclipsed the Democrats as a threat to the rule of law and to the constitutional norms of American society. They have become all about winning. Winning means not losing, and so instead of acting like a co-equal branch of government responsible for advice and consent, congressional Republicans now act like a parliamentary party facing the constant threat of a vote of no confidence.
Self-professed super genius Tom Nichols is apparently unaware that the GOP, in fact no political party, is a co-equal branch of anything. That’s not their job. Only a complete ignoramus could think that a political party has some special duty to undermine the interests of its coalition. Democratic government is exactly the opposite of that. It is factions and coalitions jostling to get their way at the expense of others. That’s how it is supposed to work. That’s how it always works. How does he not know this?
Of course, the real issue for fake tough guys, like self-professed super genius Tom Nichols, is Trump is ripping the cover off their act. By actually fighting and winning, Trump is exposing fakers like self-professed super genius Tom Nichols. These guys were always a fraud. More important, this Kavanaugh incident has revealed the Left to be something other than wily opponents. They were outsmarted by the GOP and by Trump, which self-professed super genius Tom Nichols said was impossible.
The thing is, guys like Tom Nichols, who hilariously wrote a book lamenting the decline of expertise, were always favored by the Left because they were dumb. Sure, self-professed super genius Tom Nichols has a head for trivia. Just ask him. He stops people on the street everyday to tell them he is a five time jeopardy champ. Otherwise, he is just another hired man tasked with guarding the border between us and them. Maybe we get lucky and he and David French decide to go out like Thelma and Louise.