The shrewd, erudite club of NeverTrump “conservatives” has finally hatched a plan to reclaim the Republican Party from Donald Trump and win the hearts and minds of Republicans across the country. Yes, this wily gang—who named themselves “Meeting of the Concerned” because it sounds better than “Republican AV Club of Geeks and Losers”—launched their first strike yesterday and holy sh*t, Trump and his allies in Congress are gonna be shaking in their loafers.
Here’s the MOC message: SAVE MUELLER!
Yes, these brave warriors wrote a harshly worded letter posted on an obscure website that calls for “House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to make clear, both publicly and privately, that they support the Mueller investigation and regard any interference with that investigation, including dismissal of the special counsel or preemptive pardons of investigation targets, as completely unacceptable.”
The letter claims that with “indictments announced on Monday, the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference with the 2016 election is now entering a new and critical phase.”
I can only imagine how this winning message will be embraced throughout Trump Country, from VFW halls in western Pennsylvania to country clubs in suburban Chicago: “Finally!” they will cheer. “Someone in the Republican Party is hearing us and voicing our biggest concern, which is to make sure a costly and potentially inconsequential investigation into last year’s election will continue. We don’t need Congress and the administration to tackle health care costs, or tax reform, or national security, or even investigate the corruption of the previous administration. No sirree, making sure Bob Mueller keeps his job is priority number one!”
A powerful mantra will ring from coast to coast: SAVE MUELLER!
So, who are these masterminds, these intuitive souls who have so adeptly captured the mood of an uneasy electorate and delivered this devastating blow to the pro-Trump flank? According to the Washington Post, the lucky newspaper that got the scoop and reported the explosive news yesterday, MOC was born last February: “With the shock of President Trump’s victory still fresh, a small group of libertarians and conservatives began meeting every two weeks to discuss their next moves.”
MOC started off with just a few sore losers, er, powerful political operatives, including Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard and the most vocal of the NeverTrump “conservatives” and Evan McMullin, the insufferable nobody Kristol drafted to run against Trump. “The meeting grew to include conservative columnists like Mona Charen, Max Boot and John Ziegler, and former U.S. House members such as South Carolina’s Bob Inglis and Florida’s David Jolly.”
Wow. Must be just like Davos.
But that’s not all. MOC has other heavy-hitters such as Mindy Finn, McMullin’s former running mate and an alleged GOP strategist. “GOP strategist” now seems to be the catch-all phrase for every NeverTrumper so they have some cred to appear on CNN and MSNBC. Finn told the Post,“there’s a leadership vacuum.” (Oh, Mindy, consider it filled!) “Ideally, we’d have more members of Congress standing up for the rule of law, being willing to challenge the president. Given that they’re not doing that, we felt that groups like this need to exist and need to speak out.”
Their stirring words were prompted by a Wall Street Journal editorial last week that raised legitimate questions about Mueller’s objectivity amid new revelations surrounding the so-called Trump “dossier.” The editorial was too much for these freedom-fighters to take. “That was surprising to me,” said columnist Mona Charen. “I didn’t regard them [the Journal] as part of the Trump right. When they wrote an editorial suggesting that Mueller resign, I felt that needed a response.” (Another signatory to the letter is Tom Nichols, an alleged conservative Russia “expert” who has expressed little concern about the Clinton campaign’s role in producing the Russia-sourced dossier, probably because he voted for Clinton.)
The threatening MOC missive was posted by the Niskanen Center, a D.C-based think tank whose “main audience is the Washington insiders—policy-oriented legislators, presidential appointees, career civil servants in planning, evaluation and budget offices, congressional committee staff, engaged academics, and interest group analysts—who together decide the pace and direction of policy change.” Although Niskanen is described as “libertarian” in the media, the content on its website reads more like a progressive non-profit. It advocates policies to address manmade global warming (the group’s chief counsel worked for the Sierra Club) and wants a carbon tax because “the atmosphere is a global, public commons.” The center also supports universal access to health care and posted an article the day after the New York City terror attack, defending the diversity visa program. “In fact, you are more likely to be killed by your own clothes than by a foreign-born terrorist.”
Apparently Niskanen’s co-founder, Jerry Taylor, thinks Trump a bigger threat to America’s security than a foreign-born terrorist or tightpantyhose. He told the Post that Republicans “risked going into the history books as the party of treason” if they didn’t protect Mueller. “Some of us feel that impeachable offenses have already been committed, and some of us are not sure. It seems to be unanimous on Mueller, but there’s always some hazard in identifying yourself as part of the Republican resistance.” Especially when nothing about you or your policy ideas is the least bit Republican.
And no worries. If the Mueller letter isn’t enough of a body blow to Trump and his supporters, MOC has more ammunition ahead. The group is now debating “a statement of principles, which has grown to three pages, but is still unfinished.” Not a statement of principles, dear God! How much more abuse can we take? What next, a weekend summit at the Mayflower Hotel?
If this is the best the NeverTrump “conservatives” can do, Trump and his congressional allies may rest easy when considering threats from that quarter. They are about as likely to be successful in effecting change through these efforts as they have been successful in affecting the politics more generally. If a NeverTrump conservative shrieks at the sky in horror at Trump while alone in the forest, does he still make a sound?