Writing at The American Conservative, author Jack Hunter takes the “never Trump” neocons of Washington to task for criticizing “tribalism,” in politics when, during the Bush administration, they were using the same tribal tactics to push their own agenda. He writes (abridged):
It’s easy to understand and even sympathize with those on the Right who are critical of Donald Trump’s presidency. But it’s really hard to stomach Never Trump neoconservatives who now complain about Republican tribalism, cults of personality, and blind loyalty to the current president—because virtually all of them used to engage in and endorse the very same behavior.
George W. Bush-era hawks thrived by capitalizing on a popular Republican president.
In a story about President Trump’s enduring support within his party, The New York Times gave a useful comparison on Saturday: “Mr. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is now about 90 percent…the only modern Republican president more popular with his party than Mr. Trump at this point in his first term, according to Gallup, was George W. Bush after the country united in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.”
The hawks who form the core of today’s Never Trump cadre have resisted the president precisely because his “America First” rhetoric threatened their long-reigning exclusive definition of what Republican foreign policy should look like.
Neoconservatives need to stop pretending it’s Trump-induced tribalism that truly upsets them. They never had a problem making similar emotional plays for their own purposes when those opportunities arose.
The neoconservatives never had a problem with populism or nationalism when it was used to whip up war fever.
Read more here.