Posted by Curt on 10 May, 2016 at 9:50 am. 2 comments already!


Victor Davis Hanson:

I watched Donald Trump serially blast apart all my preferred candidates — Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — as if for sport they were sent up in succession as clay pigeons. And now the November Rubicon — vote for Donald Trump, or stay home and de facto vote for Hillary Clinton — is uncomfortably close. Most of the arguments pro and con have been aired ad nauseam.

The choice is difficult for principled conservatives, because no sooner should they decide to vote for Trump than Trump will surely say something outrageous, cruel, or crude that would ostensibly now have their imprimatur on it. And note, this matters to conservatives much more than it does to liberals. Few Obama supporters at Harvard or the Ford Foundation or the New York Times worried much in 2008 that their candidate had dismissed his own generous grandmother as a “typical white person” or that he tried to get away with airbrushing out the obscene Reverend Wright and mythologized his close friendships with reprobates like Bill Ayers and Father Michael Pfleger.

Aside from his dubious political loyalties, Trump persists in being mean-spirited. He seems uninformed on many of the issues, especially those in foreign policy; he changes positions, contradicts himself within a single speech, and uses little more than three adjectives (tremendous, great, and huge). But the problem with many of these complaints is that they apply equally to both the current president and the other would-be next president. When Hillary Clinton, playing to the green vote, bragged that she would put miners out of work, and then, when confronted with an out-of-work miner, backtracked and lied about her earlier boast, we had a refined version of Trump’s storytelling. The Clinton Foundation’s skullduggery and Hillary’s e-mail shenanigans seem to trump the Trump University con — and involve greater harm to the nation. Her combination of greedy Wall Street, for-profit schmoozing and paint-by-the-numbers progressivism is repulsive.

Trump’s cluelessness about the nuclear triad is a lowbrow version of Barack Obama’s ignorance, whether seeking to Hispanicize the Falklands into the Maldives (wrong exotic-sounding, politically correct foreign archipelago, Mr. President), or mispronouncing “corpsman,” or riffing about those Austrian-speaking Austrians; or perhaps of Hillary Clinton’s flat-out lie about the causes of Benghazi, hours after she had learned the truth. I don’t think reset, Libya, Benghazi, red lines to Assad, step-over lines to Putin, and deadlines to Iran attest to Clinton’s foreign-policy savvy. It is easy to be appalled by crude ignorance, but in some ways it is more appalling to hear ignorance layered and veneered with liberal pieties and snobbery. The choice in 2016 is not just between Trump, the supposed foreign-policy dunce, and an untruthful former secretary of state, but is also a matter of how you prefer your obtuseness — raw or cooked? Who has done the greater damage to the nation: would-be novelist and Obama insider Ben Rhodes, who boasted about out-conning the “Blob” D.C. establishment, or bare-knuckles Trumpster Corey Lewandowski?

Neither Jefferson, Lincoln, nor Reagan is on this year’s ballot. So voters must deal with realities as well as principles. Note as well that so-called Republican elites really did help to create Trump: On matters of illegal immigration, offshoring and outsourcing, huge deficits, trade, and political correctness, many conservative pundits, handlers, and politicians sounded about the same as their liberal counterparts. When they debated on TV, it was like listening to two divorce lawyers; in the green room, would they sip bottled water and swap stories about their crazy clients? I recently watched Fox’s star anchor Megyn Kelly, in fawning fashion, interview firebrand Michael Moore as if he were a genuine documentarian. Moore praised Kelly to the skies, and engaged in jocular buddy joshing about her post-Fox career plans, before he waxed on in magnanimous style about how he had felt poor George W. Bush was simply incompetent rather than malicious. His disingenuous mush went unquestioned. Yet Moore remains a reprobate who after 9/11 thundered: “If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him. Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes’ destination of California — these were the places that voted against Bush.” Of the American dead in Iraq, he once gloated, “I’m sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe — just maybe — God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.” Michael Moore cuddles on Fox the way Al Sharpton goes to the Oval Office. What is the difference?

In the last five years, I have attended perhaps a dozen lectures by various establishment politicians and pundits (who supposedly believe in the “rule of law”) in which they pompously lectured down to their conservative audience that illegal immigration was a minor problem for the rube wing of the Republican party but for the enlightened was mostly an opportunity to win pro-family new voters. These are politicians and pundits whose children go to private schools, who live in apartheid communities, and whose experience with illegal aliens, to the degree it exists, is via a housecleaner or landscaper.

Another dilemma hinges not on the omnipresence of crudity but on how one prefers to have it presented — delivered in a chartreuse monster truck, or by Tesla? One is the gutter sort — besmirching John McCain’s war record, or fibbing about releasing tax returns, or bragging about rank adultery; the other is dressed up with sonorous cadences about why you must be the first presidential candidate to reject campaign-financing-reform rules in the general election, when you vowed you would be the most transparent candidate in history (as you hid both your medical records and your university transcripts and became Wall Street’s most endowed cash recipient).

When Obama later was forced to admit that his autobiographical memoir was mostly fiction, or when Bill Clinton was revealed to have jetted around with convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein, or when Obama invites as an honored White House guest a rapper whose latest album cover glorifies homies on the White House lawn gloating over the corpse of a white judge at their feet, I think we long ago eroded any notion of presidential decorum. The honest and quite legitimate argument against Trump on this count is the one we never hear: that instead of offering a corrective to the present crudity, he might continue to erode the dignity of the office in the manner of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Even Trump, however, could hardly do more damage with the Iranians than did Obama’s in-house wannabe novelist, Ben Rhodes, who, in the twilight of his one and only policy career, now brags how he misled the Congress and the public by easily salting the media field with phony nuggets of expertise and punditry. The point is that we are worried about Armageddon on the Trump horizon while we are living amid the Apocalypse.

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