Continuing the general (not exclusive) pattern of Republicans only "endorsing" Donald Trump when institutionally compelled to do so - which is not an excuse but is a not inconsiderable rationalization - the former House Majority Leader, who left politics years ago and thus has no mitigating (or corrupting) reason to "put on the party face" was refreshingly candid in his assessment of both major party presidential nominees today:
Tom DeLay has written off both presumptive presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — telling Newsmax TV that the next commander in chief will have "no integrity."
"The next president of the United States is going to be a person with no character, no faith, no integrity, no understanding of the Constitution," DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, said Thursday on The Steve Malzberg Show.
DeLay also dismissed the charge of some Republicans that the party should back whoever clinches the nomination.
"My vote does not belong to the Republican Party. My vote belongs to me and I have a very, very hard time voting for someone that frankly is running on tyranny," DeLay. [emphases added]
Quite so. Or as I have been saying with regard to the "Hillary scarecrow," this time the enemy of our enemy is another enemy, as he is in a frantic rush to prove as we speak.
From that quote you would naturally draw the conclusion that "the Hammer" is #NeverTrump. Declarative statements like "the next POTUS is going to have no character, faith, integrity, or understanding of the Constitution," and "is running on tyranny" - not "could" or "might be" - tends to leave that impression.
But DeLay is more in the #SkepticalOfTrump category:
"Trump is going to have to do a lot of work to fundamentally change to get my vote," he said. "Donald Trump has run on using the power of the government against the American people. If you don't agree with him, that is tyranny. We've had that with Obama for eight years and we're going to get it again with Hillary or Trump." [emphases added]
Or, in other words, DeLay is effectively #NeverTrump, because Trump is not capable of fundamental change. Change that was truly fundamental would include character and integrity before even policy stances. Liars and conmen (or women) will say anything to fool their marks and bilk out of them what they want - in politics, that means their votes. Candidates who are honest and principled (like Ronald Reagan was) will tell you what they believe and ask for your vote. Now you tell me in which category, based on observed behavior and track record, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump belong. And if anybody says Trump doesn't belong in the same category as she does, then you're as big a liar as they are - or a fool.
Think also of it this way: Stipulating that nobody's perfect and that every barrel of apples has at least a few rotten ones, which party's candidates make "say anything/do anything/ends justify the means/victory by any means necessary" a core tenet of their campaigns? Do Republicans actively and habitually use flagrant deception and "flip-flopping" as calculated and deliberate political tactics? No, they do not. As Pat Buchanan put it in his first memoir, "With the Republicans, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak; with the Democrats their is no spirit".
That's why those who are #SkepticalOfTrump who actually keep their eyes on what he says and does over the next six months, as opposed to mindlessly obsessing on "WE'VE GOTTA STOP HILLARY!" and blindly assuming that Trump somehow "has" to be better in the absence of any evidence - don't we want to set the bar a ways higher than that? - will inevitably become #NeverTrump.
I, of course, wouldn't trust The Donald under any circumstances - because I know better. But in order to pull off the level and magnitude of scam that would convince DeLay, judging by his comments in this interview, Trump would need a level of personal and intellectual discipline that he has never come close to displaying in his entire adult life. He is simply too vain, too narcissistic, too impulsive, too much a creature of his appetites, to maintain a facade of "conservative" statesmanship for any length of time. He is not an actor, in other words, but a "reality TV star". The only "role" he's capable of convincingly portraying is himself.
And while that portrayal has thrilled and dazzled 40% of 25% (i.e. a tenth) of the the U.S. electorate, the other 90% is either "Never" or "Skeptical" - and while a majority of voters are uninspired by Mrs. Clinton, far fewer despise her the way a majority of them detest Trump.
This is why Bill Clinton manipulated and ego-stroked Trump into jumping into the GOP race a year ago. He knew how high Trump's negatives are and have always been, that he was therefore the only "Republican" candidate that Slick's Nurse Ratchet-esque wife could defeat, and he knew that the rise of the Tea Party and its angry "populism" had created a large pool of suckers for a skilled demagogue to exploit. And Donald Trump is nothing if not a skilled demagogue. And a conman.
And Bill Clinton's masterpiece.
Exit question: If Sick Willie had run in 1992 as a Republican, how many "conservatives" would have flocked to his banner?