Skip to comments.Trump ‘Disdainers’ Are Worse Than the Haters, But Equally Irrelevant
Posted on 12/13/2019 1:47:18 PM PST by billorites
There is a slight redemptive quality in the helpless, irrational, and often demented fury of the haters. The current safe harbor of the disdainers is to nod smugly to each other on cable news panels while insisting the president and his defenders have failed in their effort to represent the Ukraine allegations as bunk and legally unassailable. Now the administration is left scrambling for excuses and technicalities.
This usually leads quite quickly to the idea that everyone knows the presidents perfect conversation with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky was wrong but that there is some question whether it justified impeachment and genuine doubt about whether it would be just or appropriate to remove the president from office.
The disdainers love to imagine they can turn Trump on a spit while the flames crackle, although they know this whole exercise is essentially nonsense. It is enjoyable nonsense because they never imagined Trump could win. They regard him as a great political bumble bee who irritates them by buzzing endlessly and noisily about, stubbornly defying all laws of politics and nature by not falling down, politically dead at last.
My esteemed friend Peggy Noonan is a disdainertoo fair-minded and equable to be a hater, but too offended as a Reaganite traditionalist by Trumps ineffable infelicities to be at all comfortable with his presence in the White House.
Some weeks ago, I wrote that I was gently disappointed that, as someone who had gone through the Iran-Contra farce with President Reagan, Noonan did not have greater sympathy for Trumps predicament. In the Wall Street Journal on December 7, she addressed the Iran-Contra affair in a wholly admirable spirit of loyal Reaganian revisionism, as a big mistake, a real mess . . . [whose] deeper lessons have to do with how to admit and repair mistakes, how to work with the other side, and how to forge through and survive to the betterment of the country.
President Reagan was a great man and a great president, probably the only great president apart from the almost unanimously acknowledged giants Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Iran-Contra controversy consisted of the U.S. government selling anti-tank missiles to Iran via Israel, with the gain realized by Israel being paid to the anti-Sandinista contras in Nicaragua, in contravention of the Boland Amendment which forbade assistance to overthrow the Communist government of Nicaragua. It contravened American anti-terrorism policy and a self-imposed ban on arms sales to Iran, and was agreed with unofficial parties in Iran who were supposedly reform elements who said they would secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
Noonan acknowledges that departing from government policy toward Iran, paying ransom money to charlatans in a way that would encourage more hostage-taking, in the belief that reform might be promoted in Khomeinis Iran, was bad policy. She doesnt mention the Boland Amendment, which was the basis for the complaints of the Congress, and glosses over the immense mockery that arose when it came to light that National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane went to Iran disguised with a red wig, delivering a Bible inscribed to Khomeini by Reagan, and doesnt mention Reagans complete inability to explain what happened, (including more than 140 responses under questioning by the independent committee of inquiry that he did not recall).
Nor does she refer to then-Vice President George H.W. Bushs almost certainly false denial that he knew anything about any of it. Or the fact that McFarlanes successor at the National Security Council, Admiral John Poindexter, took the bullet for the president and said Reagan knew nothing of the legal problems and that the buck stops here. (He went down on five criminal charges which were later overturned on Fifth Amendment violations.)
It was indeed a big mistake (and) a real mess. Reagan, as always in his career, was lucky-this broke half way through his second term; he was popular and elderly, and his aides took the heat and, in the case of CIA Director Bill Casey, died.
But Iran-Contra had no deeper lessons remotely approximating Peggy Noonans amiable divinations. The only other occasions in my conscient lifetime when a U.S. president appeared such a fuddy-duddy were when Jimmy Carter in 1980 ordered a hostage rescue operation in Iran that failed completely, and in 1960 when Dwight Eisenhower was caught red-handed in the falsehood that the U-2 espionage aircraft shot down over the USSR was a weather plane. (The Russians had captured the pilot, Francis Gary Powers, but didnt reveal that until Ike assumed he was dead and produced his whopper.)
Iran-Contra was a shambles, one of the principals attempted suicide (fortunately unsuccessfully), and the government floundered badly. Reagans luck held as 40 years of containment and his missile-defense policies had pushed the Soviet Union under Gorbachev to abandon the Cold War and eventually to disintegrate altogether, in the nine months following the end of Reagans second term. Iran-Contra isnt important in a historic evaluation of Reagan, but it was a modest scandal completely bungled, (even though I always thought the Boland Amendment could have been overcome and was ultra vires to Congress anyway).
But President Trump has no scandal at all in Ukraine. He asked to be told after suitable examination of the facts whether or not Joe Biden and his son were influence-peddling in Ukraine. There is nothing wrong with that; nothing. It is bunk, and the Trump disdainers will have to live with that.
No ill-gotten money has changed hands (other than to Hunter Biden), no principle of national security has been violated, not even a peccadillo. For these purposes, Trumps telephone conversation with Zelensky really was perfect. Trump hasnt had an attack of insomnia and doesnt have to regroup politically. He is rising in the polls, has told the haters and the disdainers to stuff their complaints, bring on the impeachment burlesque, and he will see his enemies on Election Day.
That the far-Left and the most entrenched elements of the OBushinton post-Reagan political class would hate Trump is understandable; he said he would smash them, was elected to do so, and is doing it. He will not replicate Reagans boffo performance of running against the government even after he had been president for six years.
That many people disdain him is also understandable; some of his antics, churlish responses, and malapropisms can be grating. But historians who write untainted by the cant, emotionalism, and bias that have so profoundly damaged the public trust in media and government in Trumps time, will recognize the force of his movement, the soundness of his policies, and the base vacuity and snobbery of much of the criticism of him. They will particularly recognize the attractions of a successful single-combat warrior in the greatest office and on the biggest stage in the world.
Love the phrase “OBushinton political class”.
“....the force of his movement, the soundness of his policies, and the base vacuity and snobbery of much of the criticism of him”.
I believe the technical term for this slight lift of the left end of the upper lip is “sophistry”, an attitude that the perpetrator of this wisdom is simply the smartest person in the room.
After all, his (or her) mother had often repeated how very precious (pr precocious) her “smart kid” was. Now they believe it themselves.
Peggy Noonan was one of Reagan’s speechwriters and has become a terrific columnist. She wrote some good stuff explaining Trump and his attraction to the political class. I am deeply disappointed she has emerged as a disdainer.
This was a very well written article but even though I pride myself on a pretty decent vocabulary, I had to look up a couple of words.
All you've got is "whatabout Reagan"?
I like it too, but I would have referenced it as the oBushington Deep State political class.
Make no mistake about it, he and his cronies are all on the Deep State’s band wagon.
? The piece is pro-Trump.
Or, perhaps the "air" is the last effort of one merely attempting to be relevant without committing to an opinion which might, later, be held in "disdain" among the vast East and West Coasts' army of haters.
- 1542, earlier sophister (c.1380), from L. sophista, sophistes, from Gk. sophistes, from sophizesthai "to become wise or learned," from sophos "wise, clever," of unknown origin. Gk. sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt. Ancient sophists were famous for their clever, specious arguments.
- O.E. philosophe, from L. philosophus, from Gk. philosophos "philosopher," lit. "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" + sophos "wise, a sage."
"Pythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty." [Klein]
- A fondness or love for wisdom that leads to searches for it; hence, seeking a knowledge of the general principles of elements, powers, examples, and laws that are supported by facts and the existence of rational explanations about practical wisdom and knowledge.
True. Its also inane.
You didn’t miss anything. He isn’t saying anything special and if he doesn’t see Trump as one of the great presidents all his vocabulary is irrelevsnt and immaterial. And antidisestablishmentarianism. So there.
Great, great writing and I love this:
“”He is rising in the polls, has told the haters and the disdainers to stuff their complaints, bring on the impeachment burlesque, and he will see his enemies on Election Day.””
Thanks for posting...
Didn’t the Iran-Contra affair also involve a cake?
Its pro Trump in a smarmy way. He undercuts Trump by not considering him one of the great presidents or in a class with Reagan. Also the beginiing of the article looks like its not pro-Trump.
He’s an in love with himself writer.
“But historians who write untainted by the cant, emotionalism, and bias ...”
Sometimes this takes less time than you think it will. Watching “Killing Jimmy Hoffa” (2015) I noticed that most of the well-below-age-fifty authors and historians they had on betrayed no special love or awe for the Kennedys and their Camelot. They seems disgusted or contemptuous if anything. It was very refreshing to see.
The verbose, bloviating GOP dinosaur?
The voice of the Complacent Republican Establishment?
Peggy long ago revealed that she couldn’t care less about the concerns of Trump voters.
Well, I seem to translate his bottom line point being the same people ie. Noonan etc. that would criticize Trump for “perceived” behaviors that someone like Reagan would get from them a complete pass.
I happen to agree with that.
Also I would agree that those very same people feel “disdainful” toward Trump and those that support him. Not hate but a sort of derision borne of self righteous arrogance and conservative puritanism.
I don’t know if the Greeks used the term sophist quite the same way that we do, but in English sophistry is the clever use of language in order to deceive. In contrast to philosophy, the love of wisdom.
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