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Trump Fans, Itís Time for An Intervention
National Review ^ | July 11, 2015 | Jonah Goldberg's Weekly News Letter

Posted on 07/11/2015 1:59:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

There have been times in the past when I’ve 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. That’s 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 other’s points and hold open the possibility that one’s 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 Trump’s 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. I’m 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. They’re angry about Obama’s lawless chicanery on immigration. They’re angry about the GOP’s patented inability to cross the street without stepping on its own d*ck and then having to apologize for it. They’re angry that the Left’s culture warriors are behaving like an invading army that shoots the survivors even after they’ve surrendered. They’re 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. He’s 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 he’s 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. He’s a bore who overcompensates for his insecurities by talking about how awesome he is, often in the third person. Jonah can’t stand that.

You see the next Teddy Roosevelt and all I see is someone who talks big and carries a small schtick.

’Sup Britches?

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 don’t blame Trump one bit for his hostility. I’d 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, let’s give him thermonuclear weapons.

Anyway, when asked about me, he said:

I’m 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 can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?

As the intern said to Bill Clinton, this puts me in a weird position. I don’t like to brag, but I’m actually quite adept at buying pants. I don’t 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 I’m 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 he’s 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 he’s a jerk. But somehow he’s 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 doesn’t. 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 Obama’s arrogance but revel in Trump’s. (I chuckle at all of the people who tell me he’s 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, I’m afraid we’re going to have to disrespectfully disagree. First of all, he’ll never be president of the United States. I won’t 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 Midas’s 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 isn’t to the political analysis of Trump supporters. It’s their judgment of the man that stews the bowels.

The Purest RINO

​Which gets me back to the grifter thing.

I’ve 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. It’s nothing more than a team. Conservatism is different. It’s a body of ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. The amazing thing is that Trump is both a RINO and a CINO. I’m sure he has some authentic and sincere conservative views down in there somewhere. But the idea that he’s 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 he’s a fraud. The conversation would go something like this:

Immigration: You seem to think he’s an immigration hardliner, and he’s certainly pretending to be. But why can’t you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill O’Reilly 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 it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 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, “I’m totally pro-choice. I hate it and I hate saying it. And I’m almost ashamed to say that I’m pro-choice but I am pro-choice because I think we have no choice.”

Man, it’s like he’s channeling Thomas Aquinas there.

Now he says he’s pro-life. But I’ll spare the mocking on this because at least he’s flip-flopping in the right direction, and I don’t 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 couldn’t get his head around the fact that Obama didn’t pick her for VP. “I’m a big fan of Hillary. She’s a terrific woman. She’s a friend of mine.”

Economics: People tout the guy’s business record. But he represents almost exactly what his supporters think he opposes. He’s 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. He’s 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 doesn’t. 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 Trump’s approach. He’s 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). That’s 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 he’s trying to speak in an even grubbier dialect of conservatism. And, having grown up in the tabloid politics of New York, he’s better at faking it.

Eventually, I suspect, this will be the cause of his undoing. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t 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 GOP’s 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 won’t deny that having a celebrity on our side has its utility. But it’s 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 Brooks’s new book, The Conservative Heart (full disclosure: He’s my boss at AEI and a friend). I’ll be writing more about it in the future because I think it’s an important book. But I will say for now that it is almost a mirror image of Trump’s approach. It’s thoughtful, humble, fact- and data-driven, and informed by a deep moral case for conservatism. It won’t satisfy your desire to scream at the opposition, but it will equip you to explain to the opposition why they are wrong............


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gopprimary; trump
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To: CitizenUSA
Can we like what Trump is saying on immigration without planning to vote for him? I think so. Is it possible to appreciate the way he’s exposed the Democrats and many Republicans as treacherous amnesty shills? He seems to be doing an excellent job of that.

The GOPe is laid bare. They are no better than the Democrats on immigration. For whatever reasons, both parties want open borders at the expense of Americans. Many of us are sick of it!

2 thumbs up!

81 posted on 07/11/2015 3:33:30 AM PDT by Ken H
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Jonah Goldberg is a senior editor of National Review, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute


Jonah's mom must be so proud of him,

working for two employers that have to ask for donations

to keep the doors open and the lights on.

 https://www.nationalreview.com/donate

 https://www.aei.org/donate/


But he still has every right to criticize and ridicule a man who

gets up every morning and goes to work in the real world.

82 posted on 07/11/2015 3:37:38 AM PDT by greedo
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They all need thier a##es handed to them bring them all to the shed


83 posted on 07/11/2015 3:37:44 AM PDT by ronnie raygun
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To: Gaffer

The Democrats don’t have anything...

Nobody plays dirty politics like a woman scorned either. Hillary was played quite well by Limbaugh in 2008. Lots of conservatives switched parties in the primaries to vote for her at the urging of Rush.

Enter Trump stage left with a vitriolic conservative sounding message. The goal is to split the Republican base and it is frightening that so many just don’t see it.

Trump is going to pull away votes, conservatives will be disappointed...AGAIN. How many will stay home and not vote this time because of this game from Trump?

Hillary wins.


84 posted on 07/11/2015 3:44:31 AM PDT by EBH (There's a sucker born every minute)
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To: Ray76

I woke up a long time ago. I have no illusions about the The Stupid Party. Trump has started something the The Gutless Party won’t be able to contain. I love seeing them squirm, and the longer Trump is around the more they will have to address how they have failed to articulate any goals as a supposed opposition to Democrats.


85 posted on 07/11/2015 3:50:44 AM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: dennisw

So you think Trump can ride this thing to the White House as a Republican?


86 posted on 07/11/2015 3:52:26 AM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: EBH

I’m not going to buy the spoiler routine again. The ‘base’ is already split - very distinctly, irreparably IMO.

To the extent that it forces the large slate of candidates to jump off this fake “immigration reform” fence and call the illegal alien spade a spade is a good thing, IMO.

He isn’t fooling me as a conservative, nor as a serious candidate. Pull votes away? From who? Bush in Iowa or NH or SC? Walker? Cruz? He’s not changed my mind about Cruz a single bit. Regardless of Trump, the RINO GOPe poweratti are committed to make Bush the candidate and HE is the enemy here.


87 posted on 07/11/2015 3:52:57 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: spodefly

Trump is mowing down all the tall grass the GOPe likes to hide in.


88 posted on 07/11/2015 3:54:25 AM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

Exactly why I want him in the news cycle 24/7 for the next 15 months.


89 posted on 07/11/2015 3:57:46 AM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: Gaffer

Exactly. Jeb must be stopped at all costs.


90 posted on 07/11/2015 4:02:32 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: Cowboy Bob

“I won’t vote for Trump for President, but I love how he’s beating the establishment senseless.”........

At this time, I too would not vote for Trump. Then again, what to do when it becomes Hitlary or Trump? Decisions, decisions. Would you rather have a confirmed liar or someone who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is? Guess I’d have to go for Trump then, we’ve had enough of the demodummies and certainly enough of Hitlary.

What really worries me if it becomes Bush or Hitlary, if that happens the voters have a REALLY BIG PROBLEM.


91 posted on 07/11/2015 4:04:19 AM PDT by DaveA37
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To: Ray76
The Republican Party is a vessel, a tool for achieving conservative ends.

Do you really disagree with that statement? Seems self-evident to me.

92 posted on 07/11/2015 4:04:54 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: spodefly

Sure Trump can win the Presidency unless he gets disgusted and drops out.

You better believe Tokyo Rove and his RINOs are looking high and low for dirt and mud to fling. Dittos for Hill and Bill.


93 posted on 07/11/2015 4:09:50 AM PDT by dennisw (The first principle is to find out who you are then you can achieve anything -- Buddhist monk)
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To: dragnet2

I don’t object to Trump’s speaking the truth, which he recently (sorta) has.

I do, however, object to pretty much everything else about the man, as Jonah lays out so clearly.

The Devil can quote Scripture, and a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often. That doesn’t mean we should elect the Devil or the squirrel President.

Especially when there is pretty much zero evidence that Trump really believes what he is now saying, or indeed that he really believes anything except that Trump is wonderful.


94 posted on 07/11/2015 4:10:10 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: dennisw

>>>So Jonah Goldberg comes up with this jive. Pathetic!

His career was built and is sustained by him being a “likeable” conservative. Not being able to buy a pair of pants is in fact something that would further endear Goldberg to his liberal friends.


95 posted on 07/11/2015 4:11:46 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: dennisw

I would like to think you are right that he can win as a Republican, but my fear is that his ego, and the highly-skilled ability of the Republicans to self-immolate might push Trump to go 3rd Party, at which point we can all start practicing saying, “Madame President” ...


96 posted on 07/11/2015 4:12:57 AM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: Sherman Logan

Especially when there is pretty much zero evidence that any politician really believes what he is now saying....

Yes every one of them.


97 posted on 07/11/2015 4:14:27 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: livius
He’s this year’s populist clown candidate, full of bluster but absolutely empty of plans. If he was serious about politics and making a change, he should have run for mayor of New York - he started to, in fact, but washed out early on.

And he has the $$$ to launch a 3rd Party campaign - he's already flirted with the Reform Party.

".....The Reform Party's presidential candidate for the 2000 election was due federal matching funds of $12.5 million, based on Perot's 8% showing in 1996. Early on, there was a failed effort to draft Ron Paul.

Donald Trump entered the race briefly, giving television interviews outlining his platform. Trump was progressive on social issues, and supported allowing openly gay soldiers in the military, saying: "it would not disturb me." Trump considered himself a conservative, but criticized Pat Buchanan, saying: "I'm on the conservative side, but Buchanan is Attila the Hun." He withdrew from the race citing the party's infighting, as did Jesse Ventura and the Minnesota Reform Party.".....

98 posted on 07/11/2015 4:15:44 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: spodefly
It's all about:


99 posted on 07/11/2015 4:17:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: central_va

You think Trump cares about you?

Would you go over the ridge with this guy?


100 posted on 07/11/2015 4:19:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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