The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Never Take Military Advice From (Or Give Money to) #NeverTrump Grifters

Posted on | March 5, 2022 | Comments Off on Never Take Military Advice From (Or Give Money to) #NeverTrump Grifters

What’s weird about Rick Wilson is that most people never heard of him until Twitter came along, but the consulting game is so lucrative that lots of people you never heard of collect fat paychecks. Wilson first came onto my radar as a Twitter personality associated with the Tea Party circa 2009, but he had a history before that:

Wilson played a significant role in the 2002 United States Senate election in Georgia, in which Saxby Chambliss was facing Democratic Party Senator Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Silver Star. Wilson helped make an ad that criticized Cleland, while also tying him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The ad appeared to question Cleland’s patriotism.

As political crackback blocks go, that was one of the most brutal hits in recent memory, and was part of the shocking 2002 midterm where Republicans reversed the historic trend by actually gaining seats. The GOP machine was firing on all cylinders in those post-911 days and it would have been inconceivable to most of us at the time that, in 2006, Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats would win the congressional majority and that a guy named Barack Obama would be elected president in 2008. The spiraling downward trajectory of the Republican Party from its peak of influence to the depths of the early Obama years is a phenomenon for which Rick Wilson and his colleagues have never been called to account. We’re supposed to forget this as ancient history, irrelevant to the current political landscape. However, when the #NeverTrump brigade claim a devotion to “principle,” and assert that their goal is to restore the “norms” of our political life, one is inspired to wonder exactly what “principles” and “norms” they have in mind. Another campaign for the conquest and occupation of Mesopotamia, perhaps? Imputations of treason against political opponents? Most recently, Wilson has tried his hand at offering bad military advice, suggesting “that America could transfer A10s to Ukraine, and [pilot] contractors could fly them in combat.”

Everybody who has seen that long Russian column stretching for miles down toward Kyiv understands what a perfect target it would be for the famous “tankbuster” A10 Warthog, the most innovative air-to-ground weapon since the Stuka divebomber. But as Jim Thompson explains, the scheme of sending A10s to Ukraine on a sort of lend-lease arrangement is unworkable for several reasons. The A10 requires extensive backup in terms of experienced ground crews and so forth that simply can’t be transferred to another country in the way that Javelin missiles can.

Such is the power of war fever, however, that Rick Wilson’s tactically impossible suggestion got nearly 600 likes and 6,000 retweets from his Twitter following. And anyone who points out the folly of Wilson’s suggestion will be accused of being a Traitorous Putin Stooge.

This is essentially what Wilson said in his recent appearance on a Salon-dot-com video podcast: “Putin has this deep appeal to the modern Republican Party because he believes in power, he believes in wealth, he believes in control.” Wilson added bluntly, the GOP “have become very friendly to dictatorship, to authoritarianism … people like Putin.”

Sure, Rick. Just like Max Cleland was a Saddam Hussein fanboy.

The “norms” and “principles” to which #NeverTrump profess devotion turn out to be difficult to define beyond an ironclad certainty of their own intellectual and moral superiority to anyone who disagrees with them.

Just last night, by the way, I was discussing with my brother the possibility that the Ukrainians could find some way to hit that long Russian column. It struck me that one of the reasons the Russians might have decided to launch their invasion in late February — rather than waiting for May, as more traditional doctrine would suggest — is that by attacking in winter, they deny the Ukrainians the concealment of hiding in forests. You look at those satellite images of the convoy strung out along a single highway and notice that there are forested approaches which might be used by the Ukrainians to stage an attack on the Russians, but there are no leaves on the trees, and so an attacking force would be sitting ducks, at least in daylight. Nevertheless, I’m sure the Ukrainian military leadership must be trying to figure out some way to hit that convoy, like Stonewall Jackson hit Pope’s supply line during the Second Manassas campaign. The only hope for Ukraine is to make a daring counterattack before the Russians can get everything in place for a siege of Kyiv, and smashing that Russian supply convoy would obviously be an objective of such a counterattack. Alas, hope is not a strategy, and a realistic assessment of Ukraine’s situation does not inspire optimism.

Those of us who, on the one hand, are praying that Ukraine can miraculously defeat the Russians but, on the other hand, know that there are limits to how much the U.S. and its allies can assist the Ukrainians without risking World War III, are expected to yield the floor to Rick Wilson and his dumbass schemes, because to criticize Rick Wilson is to be an accomplice of authoritarianism. The brilliant thing about the #NeverTrump hustle is how their rhetoric makes them personally synonymous with “norms” and “principles” and “democracy,” so that any possibility of sincere disagreement is automatically excluded.

If I say I am pro-X and anti-Y — if I strive to make myself a prominent spokesman for these positions, celebrating them as a sacred cause — then it is logical to infer that my critics are anti-X and pro-Y. This logic works reasonably well if X and Y refer to specific policy positions, but when the likes of Rick Wilson start attaching this logic to nebulous abstractions like “democracy,” so that choosing between Democrats and Republicans becomes a moral referendum, with opposition to Democrats categorized as “authoritarian,” this becomes a crude hustle that can deceive no intelligent or reasonably well-educated person.

But hey, let’s talk about those True Conservative™ principles:

Y’know, I might feel sympathy for the people who got swindled by McMullin, but fools and their money are soon parted, and if any fools ever deserved to be fleeced and ripped off, it was #NeverTrump fools.

(Hat-tips: Evil Blogger Lady, Instapundit, Ace of Spades.)



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