Skip to comments.Trump Fans, Itís Time for An Intervention
Posted on 07/11/2015 1:59:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
There have been times in the past when Ive gotten crosswise with certain segments of the conservative base and/or with the readership of National Review. And, because, like the Elephant Man, I am a not an animal but a human being, I have always had at least some self-doubt. Thats as it should be. People who share principles should not only hear each other out when they disagree; they should be able to see each others points and hold open the possibility that ones opponents have the better argument.
This is not one of those times, at least not for me.
I truly, honestly, and with all my heart and mind think Donald Trumps most ardent supporters are making a yuuuuuuge mistake. I think they are being conned and played. I feel like a guy whose brother is being taken advantage of by a grifter. Im watching helplessly as the con artist congratulates him for taking out a third mortgage.
Anger Is Not an Argument
Now, before I go on, let me clarify a few things. I get it. The base of the party is angry. Theyre angry about Obamas lawless chicanery on immigration. Theyre angry about the GOPs patented inability to cross the street without stepping on its own d*ck and then having to apologize for it. Theyre angry that the Lefts culture warriors are behaving like an invading army that shoots the survivors even after theyve surrendered. Theyre angry that Republicans have to bend over backward so as not to offend anyone, while Democrats have free rein (and at times free reign) to do and to say as they please.
Enter Trump, stage left. He makes no apologies. Hes brash. I can understand why some see him as a breath of fresh air. If you want to give him credit for starting a worthwhile debate about sanctuary cities and illegal immigration, fine. I think that argument is way overdone, but certainly reasonable enough.
Trump supporters need an intervention. I want to sit them down at the kitchen table, reach into a manila envelope, and pull out the proof that hes a fraud.
Maybe you just like him. On that, we can respectfully disagree, as there is no accounting for taste. Perhaps you just like his musk and the way it assaults your nostrils, which is fitting, given his line of cologne. Fine.
I, on the other hand, find him tedious, tacky, and trite. Hes a bore who overcompensates for his insecurities by talking about how awesome he is, often in the third person. Jonah cant stand that.
You see the next Teddy Roosevelt and all I see is someone who talks big and carries a small schtick.
In words George Will shall never write, this is a good moment to talk about my pants. Earlier this week, Donald Trump attacked Charles Krauthammer and me. By the way, I dont blame Trump one bit for his hostility. Id hate me too, if I were him. Still I do marvel at how this supposed Master of the Universe can be unnerved by such criticism. If it takes so little effort for me to set up shop in his head, by all means, lets give him thermonuclear weapons.
Anyway, when asked about me, he said:
Im worth a fortune. . . . I went out, I made a fortune, a big fortune, a tremendous fortune . . . bigger than people even understand. . . . Then I get called [a failure] by a guy that cant buy a pair of pants, I get called names?
As the intern said to Bill Clinton, this puts me in a weird position. I dont like to brag, but Im actually quite adept at buying pants. I dont enjoy it. But I can do it. It never occurred to me to put it in my bio or anything Jonah Goldberg is a senior editor of National Review, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a successful pants-buyer but maybe I should.
Now, I will say that I sometimes choose not to wear pants, and not just because Im so fond of my spaghetti-strainer codpiece (which affords me the satisfaction of telling really attractive women, Hey, my eyes are up here. Thank you very much). But these are my choices. If I want to identify as a pantless American, who are you to say otherwise?
More to the point, what I find so gaudy about Trump is his constant reference to the fact that he made a lot of money, and his expectation that it somehow makes him immune to criticism or means that hes a better person than his GOP competitors, never mind yours truly.
The Trump-Pets Blare
Moreover, I find it horribly disappointing that his fans like this about him. If you met someone in real life who talked this way, you would think hes a jerk. But somehow hes awesome when he does it on TV?
The most troubling defense is this claptrap that he tells it like it is. Well, first of all, no he doesnt. He tells it the way you want to hear it, which is an entirely different thing.
His biggest fans disappoint in other ways as well. I marvel at how they can simultaneously despise Obamas arrogance but revel in Trumps. (I chuckle at all of the people who tell me hes a heroic truth-teller for telling it like it is and calling it as he sees it but who at the same time fume at me when I tell it like it is about Trump and call it as I see it.)
But most grating of all are the people who sincerely think he should be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.
On this, Im afraid were going to have to disrespectfully disagree. First of all, hell never be president of the United States. I wont go into all of the reasons I think this, but a few off the top of my head: his enormous negatives, even among Republicans; the Midass hoard of oppo-research material that surely lurks beneath the surface; and his comments about women, which alone would turn the gender gap into a chasm. To borrow a line from Mark Steyn, a President Trump would have more ex-wives than the previous 44 presidents combined.
But my objection isnt to the political analysis of Trump supporters. Its their judgment of the man that stews the bowels.
The Purest RINO
Which gets me back to the grifter thing.
Ive written many times about how I hate the term RINO because conservatives should consider themselves Republicans in Name Only. The Republican Party is a vessel, a tool for achieving conservative ends. Its nothing more than a team. Conservatism is different. Its a body of ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. The amazing thing is that Trump is both a RINO and a CINO. Im sure he has some authentic and sincere conservative views down in there somewhere. But the idea that hes more plausibly conservative or more loyally Republican than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, or any of the others is just flatly absurd. It is vastly more plausible that he is a stalking horse for his dear friend Hillary Clinton than he is a sincere conservative.
Trump supporters need an intervention. I want to sit them down at the kitchen table, reach into a manila envelope, and pull out the proof that hes a fraud. The conversation would go something like this:
Immigration: You seem to think hes an immigration hardliner, and hes certainly pretending to be. But why cant you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill OReilly he was in favor of a path to citizenship for 30 million illegal immigrants:
Trump: You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear its 11, but I dont think its 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that.
Question: Just how many rapists and drug dealers did Donald Trump want to give green cards to?
Abortion: In 1999 he said, Im totally pro-choice. I hate it and I hate saying it. And Im almost ashamed to say that Im pro-choice but I am pro-choice because I think we have no choice.
Man, its like hes channeling Thomas Aquinas there.
Now he says hes pro-life. But Ill spare the mocking on this because at least hes flip-flopping in the right direction, and I dont like to second guess peoples professed religious convictions.
Obamacare: The man wrote in his own book and said elsewhere that he was in favor of Canadian-style socialized medicine which would put him to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and on pretty much the same page as Bernie Sanders.
Hillary: Speaking of her, Trump praised Hillary Clinton and her health-care reform plan in 2007! She attended his (most recent) wedding. He donated to her campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, he couldnt get his head around the fact that Obama didnt pick her for VP. Im a big fan of Hillary. Shes a terrific woman. Shes a friend of mine.
Economics: People tout the guys business record. But he represents almost exactly what his supporters think he opposes. Hes a crony capitalist par excellence. He gives to whatever politician can grease the skids for his next deal and he makes no apologies for it. Hes an eminent-domain voluptuary. He abuses bankruptcy laws like a stack of homemade get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Parlez vous Conservative?
The most troubling defense is this claptrap that he tells it like it is. Well, first of all, no he doesnt. He tells it the way you want to hear it, which is an entirely different thing. He is like William Jennings Bryan, only his cross of gold has an all-you-can-eat buffet under it, and looks remarkably like a capital T.
He is like William Jennings Bryan, only his cross of gold has an all-you-can-eat buffet under it, and looks remarkably like a capital T.
The people of Nebraska are for free silver, and I am for free silver, Bryan announced. I will look up the arguments later. That is Trumps approach. Hes saying what understandably angry people want to hear him say.
He reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney, at least in one respect. I always said that Romney spoke conservatism as a second language (a line some people ripped off, btw). Thats why Romney called himself a severe conservative, talked about how he likes to fire people, and anathematized the 47 percent.
Trump is even less truly conservative, but hes trying to speak in an even grubbier dialect of conservatism. And, having grown up in the tabloid politics of New York, hes better at faking it.
Eventually, I suspect, this will be the cause of his undoing. He doesnt know what he doesnt know about conservatism, and at some point he will say something that even his biggest fans will recognize as a damning revelation about the real man beneath the schtick. The only question is whether he implodes before or after he does permanent damage to the GOPs chances in 2016.
The Conservative Heart
Look, these are rough times for conservatives, for reasons too lengthy, and all too familiar, to go into here. But none of our problems demographic, political, cultural can be solved unless conservatives take the cause of persuasion to heart. All of our problems can be fixed by convincing people to join our cause. That is what politics is about persuading people that their interests and concerns are better addressed by coming to our side. And, given the degraded nature of our culture, I wont deny that having a celebrity on our side has its utility. But its only helpful if that celebrity convinces people to switch sides. As a purely mathematical proposition, it is insane to believe that Donald Trump will convert more voters than he will repel.
For those who are interested in persuasion, I heartily recommend Arthur Brookss new book, The Conservative Heart (full disclosure: Hes my boss at AEI and a friend). Ill be writing more about it in the future because I think its an important book. But I will say for now that it is almost a mirror image of Trumps approach. Its thoughtful, humble, fact- and data-driven, and informed by a deep moral case for conservatism. It wont satisfy your desire to scream at the opposition, but it will equip you to explain to the opposition why they are wrong............
Thank you for that.
I didn’t know that story.
My wife lived in Manhattan for 23 years (before I found her and married her).
I’ll ask her about this.
That you seriously ask such a question is nothing short of alarming.
I will not vote for Trump under any circumstances, but as of this week, am enjoying seeing those in power losing their collective mind over him.
Ultimately, he’s not the messenger I would choose to carry the immigration issue, but we don’t always get to pick.
Fanatic is the origin of the word “fan” but now “fan” just means “someone who likes X”, it does not imply irrationality so you don’t need to object to it’s use on semantic grounds.
I am trying to do as you are. Immigration has always been an issue with me and with millions. I am happy to see it brought to the stage, without regard to who brings it.
I hope this brings lasting change, and if it does, we can thank Donald Trump.
Will not vote for him, though.
Right now I am enjoying The Donald showing the gutless republican how to beat the media and draw in LIV's who know and like him from 16 years of his reality show.
I want those potential new republican voters. Meanwhile, enjoy the show.
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