Thrilled to discover that there is absolutely no penalty to pay for logical contradiction, abandonment of all personal integrity, and boundless displays of cupidity in the pursuit of boundless self-interest, Republican politicians who just days earlier were describing their party's fuhrer-presumptive as immoral, dangerous, and a threat to True Conservatism had an epiphany last week: if Trump can do it, so can we!
The prize goes to Bobby Jindal, ex-governor of the great state of Louisiana who back in March wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal in which he unleashed the worst, most damning condemnation of Trump in the entire True Conservative lexicon: Trump's surprising success at the polls, he revealed, was actually the doing of . . . Obama: "Let's be honest," he intoned (even then foreshadowing his coming flexible notions of what that word "honest" means): "There would be no Donald Trump dominating the political scene today were it not for President Obama."
He went on to explain that if only Obama had not been so "cool, weak, and endlessly nuanced," then people would not feel so compelled to embrace the "absurd" Trump, and his "simple" solutions to every problem. (He added that Obama had been "polarizing" by not working with Republicans to achieve Republican policy goals, such as slashing Medicare and Social Security.)
Earlier, Jindal declared that Trump "is a shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac"; "a madman who must be stopped"; he warned that "we can be the biggest fools in history and put our faith not in our principles, but in an egomaniac who has no principles."
But last week, Jindal was back on the Journal's opinion pages, boldly declaring himself to be the biggest fool in history. No, he didn't exactly put it that way. While asserting that he was completely, fully, unwaveringly, 100% "standing by his criticisms" of Trump, he said he will nonetheless support the egomaniac who has no principles because, among other things, "Mrs. Clinton will continue hindering affordable domestic energy," an argument that would do his candidate proud by being both a total non sequitur and being factually false, as oil prices are at a 40-year low, imports falling, and domestic production soaring.
But who cares about facts, contradicting one's self, and shrugging off all of the moral values that holier-than-thou social conservatives have been claiming to themselves for years? As I mentioned the other day, George Will, who has the quaint characteristic of thinking that facts and integrity matter, denounced as "quislings" those fellow Republicans of his who have been flocking to Trump's standard. But that's actually giving them far more credit than they deserve. Vidkun Quisling, the Fører of the Norwegian right-wing party that collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, was a fascist, anti-Semite, and ideological soul mate of Hitler. The evangelicals, social conservatives, Republican office holders, and party officials who are tripping over themselves to embrace the not precisely Christlike figure of Donald Trump are simply opportunists, happy to sell their birthright for whatever mess of pottage comes their way.