You may have noticed during the recent funeral for John McCain the outpouring of support from all quarters. Virtually everyone came together lamenting the loss of an American icon. With few exceptions, for once, nearly the entire country was united in saying goodbye to John McCain. Even the ultra hard left, the group that celebrated the death of Antonin Scalia with a fervor usually reserved for the return of pumpkin spice lattes, seemed actually to be sentimental over the loss of McCain. The weekend of his funeral, many hard left activists shared videos and pictures of the McCain moments that they said illustrated “decency, civility, and values,” such as his interactions with voters soothing their fears over what kind of president Barack Obama would be, and how great of a guy he was during the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Interestingly, it was during the 2008 campaign that the left relentlessly savaged McCain as being a neocon warmonger, war criminal, and too old to run. He was held responsible for all of Bush’s failings and given no quarter in a vicious campaign. It was in these reflections that I realized why the far left is so tolerant toward establishment conservatives:
The left loves conservatives that gracefully lose to them, and these conservatives love the platforms that the left allows them to have.
Flashback to the 2008 and 2012 campaigns for a moment, and reflect on the sheer number of attack vectors both McCain and Romney had on Barack Obama. Let’s look back for a moment and see how many attacks they could have used, and didn’t, or only minimally:
1. Jeremiah Wright (the g-ddamn America guy)
2. Bill Ayers (Terrorist)
3. Frank Davis (Communist)
4. George Soros (Open Borders)
5. Multiple Socialist Associations
6. Louis Farrakhan
I do realize a few of those did come up, but only tangentially from outside PACs or someone like Sean Hannity. McCain himself made none of them a serious issue for any length of time, and instead tried to make the election about experience and policy. Now, try to imagine for a moment what would have happened had Donald Trump run that 2008 campaign. There is zero chance he would have let any of that slide, and in fact, would have made them all significant issues. To this day, many believe McCain could have beaten Obama had he been willing to use the full playbook, but instead he elected to take the “high road” and lose. As progressives lovingly reflect on McCain, realize that it’s only because he was precisely the type of conservative they love:
One they can defeat in a national election.
The left adores conservatives that “stand on principle” and don’t use the full suite of tools to win. There’s actually a name for this, one I wrote about in my book:
The Scrub is a concept I first heard about from Street Fighter World Champion David Sirlin in his book Play to Win, that he mostly applied to competitive gaming. In summary, the Scrub is a player that has invented a fictional set of arbitrary rules that the game doesn’t recognize. In other words, someone takes a game with a defined set of rules, and imposes their mental constructs over top of the existing game, creating a ruleset in their mind that doesn’t actually exist, thus hindering their ability to win. They impose these artificial rules on themselves, then wonder why they lose to opponents that have no such limitations. The left has had no compunction whatsoever to colluding with the media and foreign governments, playing identity politics, weaponizing courts and higher education, and now they want to tell us how terrible Trump’s tactics are, and how conservatives need to go back to playing McCain/Romney style politics. In other words, the left plays to win, and up until Trump, Republicans never reciprocated.
Establishment Conservatives are Scrubs of the political variety, and the left knows it and loves them for it. They love a “conservative” that will go on television and decry President Trump for being too mean in a tweet, or doing something that they deem “unpresidential.” Understand that when a left-winger tells you that they want to bring back civility and decency, what they really mean is that they don’t want to deal with Republicans that play hardball that is willing to use every tool to win. Donald Trump scares them because they know he plays to win, that he will use any and all methods to defeat them, unlike conservatives of previous years. The cold truth of the matter is that Trump knows how to win, as evidenced not only by the general election but by the manner in which he destroyed 16 of the establishment’s finest in the primary.
Also, the left knows that there is a benefit to having controlled opposition; you want the other side to feel heard, even if they can’t actually beat you or stop anything you want to do. Make no mistake; the left doesn’t mind having a few self-identified “conservatives” around, as long as it’s the Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, or Jonah Goldberg variety. They want nothing more than to have an opposition that will sit around in think tanks quoting William F. Buckley or Friedrich Hayek all day rather than waging war on them with every tool imaginable. This is why virtually every “conservative” on CNN or MSNBC is of this variety; they want to project a sense of unity between the parties on opposition to Trump, even though the conservatives they use in no way represent the vast majority of Republicans any longer. There is a reason that left-wingers are desperate to deplatform Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity, yet have no problem with George Will, Bill Kristol, or Jonah Goldberg. They know what I know: that the latter group’s brand of “principled” conservatism cannot possibly beat them in a national election. Regardless of what one thinks of Alex Jones, watching progressives and conservatives pop champagne corks over his deplatforming should tell you that they viewed his threat level as extremely high.
If you are a conservative, and your platform isn’t being threatened, then that says a lot about what progressives think of you. If they aren’t trying to shut you down, then that only means one thing: they don’t consider you a threat. Either you are too small to bother with such as myself, or they know you aren’t tilting the scales back to the right. If you are the type of conservative that loves to stand on principle then lament how you lost and didn't actually conserve anything, congratulations, you too can be in the good graces of the left. Enjoy your time there, I'm sure you'll get along fine as their glorified pet.
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