Remember when… [Updated after Senate vote]

Remember when Americans who called themselves “constitutional conservatives” got all excited when an elected Republican stood up to the party leadership and refused to budge on principle, come what may? Now those people call themselves “patriots” and prefer Mitch McConnell’s cloying cleverness to Mike Lee’s constitutionalist principles.

Remember when Ted Cruz was that constitutionalist standing up to McConnell and the rest of the leadership, and the erstwhile “constitutional conservative” crowd adored him for it? That, of course, was before Trump, whose hair quickly supplanted the old grassroots, condemned Cruz’s courageous stand against Trump’s longtime establishment partner McConnell as a smear point against Cruz before the Iowa caucus, thereby immediately turning all those former constitutionalists against the idea of defying the GOP establishment in the name of principles.

Remember when it seemed to matter what Ted Cruz thought about things, since he appeared to care about and mean what he was saying, and to have courage and to be able to speak frankly, without cloying cleverness? Then he kissed the ring, and now it doesn’t matter a lick what he thinks about anything, since it will always, predictably, be what Trump “thinks,” or the safest, most inoffensive slight half-reservation regarding what Trump thinks — and never even that half-reservation without also pointing out that Trump is a great president and a courageous president and doing exactly the right thing!

[UPATE: I wrote and posted this article before the Senate voted to disapprove of Trump’s national emergency declaration. Twelve Republicans voted with the Democrats, including Mike Lee of course. Cruz voted with Trump, and his heartfelt, agonizing explanation, just by coincidence, happens to look a lot like my description of his new tone, above. Gee, what a shock.]

Remember when the old grassroots movement used to bristle at the “binary choice” talk, shout at the heavens about the establishment’s “But Obama”-style con jobs, and swear never to get fooled again? Well, that was before they signed away their souls for a seat on Eternal Fools Express, doing its endless loop on the Orange McConnell Line.

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