Our Betters Know It

We are living in a meritocracy that is utterly lacking in merit. And our betters know it. If the current leadership in Washington were confident in their abilities and in their support, you would not see FBI raids on political opponents and political show trials on national television. 

You are under no obligation to like the Bad Orange Man. Likely a plurality of the regular writers of this feature are, if not actively anti-Trump, certainly Trump-skeptical. We all know him and, in a better world, he’d be back on television pretending to fire C-list celebrities. 

We don’t live in that world. We have a hopelessly corrupt federal government and, at least in Minnesota, a kleptocratic political machine built for the amusement of the parlor pinks who support them. These are the same people who especially enjoy voting for Ilhan Omar, because doing so is brave and transgressive. Ask the local gentry and they will say it’s elementary.

If you’ve read The Great Gatsby, you’ll recognize the type — there are plenty of Tom and Daisy Buchanans in the world. They like what they like and they don’t like arrivistes from the outer boroughs. And they don’t care about the damage they leave in their wake, because they are, in the main, immune from the consequences. We send people like Betty McCollum and Vin Weber to Washington to dance for the Buchanans and, if their performances pass muster, they get to stick around long enough to make bank. And when the spirit moves, the politicos send us back a percentage the money they extract from all of us. And for the most part, those of us who follow politics pretend the labels our dancers wear really matter.

This construct has lasted a long time, at least 90 years and arguably all the way back to Grover Cleveland. All of it is getting shaky now, though. And in Joe Biden, we have the decrepit embodiment of the rot that has been building since the one-time Garanimals customers started learning their Gramsci alongside the trust-fund swells.

It can’t continue. And our betters know it. They are showing force, but they are not confident. They may be able to gaslight their way past November, but the reckoning draws near.

You’ll Get Nothing And Like It

Former Trump hand Michael Anton, writing for Compact, offers a bracing view of the various pathologies of Trump haters, whose numbers are legion, at least among the chattering classes. I am going to pull a few quotes; this article is a festival of pull quotes, truly a “read the whole thing” special. But a few of Anton’s observations deserve particular consideration, to wit:

Complaints about the nature of Trump are just proxies for objections to the nature of his base. It doesn’t help stabilize our already twitchy situation that those who bleat the loudest about democracy are also audibly and visibly determined to deny a real choice to half the country. “No matter how you vote, you will not get X”—whether X is a candidate or a policy—is guaranteed to increase discontent with the present regime.

All along the Potomac, you can sense it: oh boy, here comes the hoi polloi. The whole point of the current January 6 show trial is to demonstrate, beyond question, that your concerns do not matter. Stay outta the 202, y’all. The enmity Anton describes began before Trump — before the MAGA hat became the visible headgear from hell, the tricorner hats of the Tea Party were not a source of great amusement to our betters, but rather an unwelcome interruption to the exciting new world on offer. The concerns of those citizens mattered not at all then and little has changed.

The Tea Party did not last; it was leaderless by design and easily coopted and dispersed by the professional Republicans who serve as junior partners in the Beltway ecosystem. So nothing changed. What did change? This time the hoi polloi had a herald, who happened to be a publicity hound from Queens. 

Why did Trump get the gig? Why wasn’t the herald someone more housebroken, like Marco Rubio or “Jeb!” or John “Daddy Was a Postman” Kasich? Amazingly, it was because a carnival barker like Trump was more credible than the other worthies in the field were. Back to Anton:

The regime can’t allow Trump to be president not because of who he is (although that grates), but because of who his followers are. That class—Angelo Codevilla’s “country class”—must not be allowed representation by candidates who might implement their preferences, which also, and above all, must not be allowed. The rubes have no legitimate standing to affect the outcome of any political process, because of who they are, but mostly because of what they want.

What Tea Party/MAGA types want isn’t hegemony over their betters. Rather, they want to be left alone, without the ministrations of those who have plans for how they ought to live their lives. Can’t have that, of course. And if you are old enough to have had friendships of over 30 years, you understand and have likely experienced the following:

People I have known for 30 years, many of whom still claim the label “conservative,” will no longer speak to me—because I supported Trump, yes, but also because I disagree on trade, war, and the border. They call not just my positions, but me personally, unadulterated evil. I am not an isolated case. There are, as they say, “many such cases.”

Kevin Williamson and the NR gang, pick up the white courtesy phone. Then Anton gets to the nub:

How are we supposed to have “democracy” when the policies and candidates my side wants and votes for are anathema and can’t be allowed? How are we supposed to live together with the constant demonization from one side against the other blaring 24/7 from the ruling class’s every propaganda organ? Why would we want to?

I am not sure we can. There’s more, a whole lot more, at the link. Consider it carefully, as we are in a dangerous moment.

Suss This

Given the glacial pace of John Durham’s investigation, it’s easy to assume that nothing is really going to come of his efforts; it’s a drill we’ve all seen before. Before Lucy pulls the football away yet again, let’s note that Durham did establish something long suspected:

John Durham released a potential smoking gun in the case against Michael Sussmann on Monday night, as he published documents showing the Democratic cybersecurity lawyer messaged the FBI general counsel that he was not working on behalf of any client, when in fact he was working for the Clinton campaign.

So what did Sussman say?

On Monday evening, however, Durham revealed Sussmann conveyed that lie in a text message to [FBI general counsel James] Baker on Sept. 18, 2016 — the night before their meeting at the bureau.

“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” Sussmann wrote to the FBI top lawyer. “Do you have availibilty [sic] for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

Except he wasn’t. He was indeed representing the Clinton campaign. As the linked article from the Washington Examiner explains:

Sussmann’s lawyers have said Sussmann met with the FBI in September 2016 “to pass along information that raised national security concerns” and characterized this as simply “to provide a tip.” The lawyers contended that Sussmann was “charged with making a false statement about an entirely ancillary matter — about who his client may have been when he met with the FBI — which is a fact that even the Special Counsel’s own indictment fails to allege had any effect on the FBI’s decision to open an investigation.”

Durham countered that “the defendant made his false statement directly to the FBI General Counsel on a matter that was anything but ancillary: namely, the existence … of attorney-client relationships that would have shed critical light on the origins of the allegations at issue.”

“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign,” Durham wrote.

Do I have any reasonable expectation that Sussmann will ultimately be brought to justice, let alone his clients? Forget it D, it’s Chinatown. And as Sussmann’s client famously said in yet another context:

What difference does it make? We know. And while stories are soft pedaled or buried entirely, they are out there to know. And in the case of the Clintons, it means they won’t be coming back.

P. J. O’Rourke, RIP

P. J. O’Rourke died yesterday at the age of 74. He was one of the best conservative pundits of the last 50 years and certainly the funniest. He also had a keen eye. In his 1990 classic Parliament of Whores, he provided a spot-on synopsis of the people you meet at a protest rally. Tell me if these descriptions from 30+ years ago still don’t ring true:

World Council of Churches sensible-shoe types who have self-righteousness the way some people have bad breath

Angry black poverty pests making a life and a living off the misfortunes of others

Even angrier feminists doing their best to feminize poverty before the blacks use it all up

Earnest neophyte Marxists, eyes glazed from dialectical epiphanies and hands grubby from littering the Mall with ill-Xeroxed tracts

College bohos dressed in black to show how gloomy the world is when you’re a nineteen-year-old rich kid

Young would-be hippies dressed exactly like old hippies used to dress (remarkable how behind the times the avant-garde has gotten)

And some of those old hippies themselves, faded jeans straining beneath increasing paunches, hair still tied into a ponytail in the back but gone forever from the top

His powers of observation set him apart from other writers, especially those who tried their hand at satire. He understood his targets better than the targets understood themselves.

As O’Rourke grew older, he softened the sharp edges and some of his thinking got a bit pear-shaped. He drew the ire of conservatives everywhere when he endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. I was not a fan of Donald Trump either, but O’Rourke’s powers of observation betrayed him that time:

Dorothy and Toto’s house fell on Hillary. I endorse her.

Munchkins endorse her.

Donald Trump is a flying monkey.

Except what the flying monkeys have to say, “oreoreoreo,” makes more sense than Trump’s policy statements.

Not that Hillary makes much sense either.

Hillary is wrong about everything. She is to politics and statecraft what Pope Urban VIII and the Inquisition were to Galileo. She thinks the sun revolves around herself.

But Trump Earth™ is flat. We’ll sail over the edge. Here be monsters.

O’Rourke was wrong about that. Hillary is more of a monster in real life than anything O’Rourke could imagine over the edge. We’ll leave that aside. Where O’Rourke made his mark, and where his legacy will reside, is in being a proto-Mencken for our age. And let’s say it — his bon mots were pretty bon:

There are probably more fact-finding tours of Nicaragua right now than there are facts— the country has shortages of practically everything.

Or this:

The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors— psychology, sociology, women’s studies— to prove that nothing is anybody’s fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you’d have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view.

Or this:

Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner’s Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes.

But above all, this:

The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge piñata — a papier-mâché donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.

We all need our sticks and few wielded a more elegant brickbat than the Irish kid from Toledo. RIP,

Lit

SCENE: Mitch BERG is trying out an ethiopian restaurant. Avery LIBRELLE, wearing two masks and a face shield, walks in, and notices BERG before he can hide his face behind a menu.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, fuuuu…get about finding better Ethiopian food than…

LIBRELLE: All Republicans are at fault for supporting the overthrow of the Constitution! January 6 proves it!

BERG: Look – it’s not only possible to believe that Trump, Powell and Giuliani’s lies about the 2020 election got a certain faction of people lathered up with some really stupid ideas, and it was a grave offense – in some ways, moreso than the left’s “mostly peaceful” riots of the previous year, if only because of what they rebelled against, and the. incredible inadvisability of “revolutionary” action that isn’t carried out for the absolutely most solid of motives, and that the Democrats need to continue waving the bloody shirt to deflect the nation from the problems that they created, and to fight the battle for the GOP’s identity without taking counsel of the Demcorats deflections and gaslighting, all at the same time.

And continuing to try to tar every Repubican with it is the lowest form of social gaslighting.

LIBRELLE: Hah. You’re the only gaslighter, whatever you actually say, because you don’t really know what you thjink, but I know what Republicans really think, deep down in their cold little hearts. You are a gaslighter, even if you don’t. know or believe it.

BERG: Huh.

LIBRELLE: If you weren’t a gaslighter, you wouldn’t need to make up fake conversations that didn’t really happen!

BERG: Riiiiiiiight

LIBRELLE: Anyway – Trump’s going to go to jail!

BERG: Probably not. Anyway – Trump’s not the president, and the GOP needs to figure out its way forward. Which is, of course, why Big Left is gaslighting Republicans – it’s what domestic abusers do.

But I can see why Democrats keep turning every possible conversation back to January 6. Then, you don’t have to talk about inflation, the national debt, the crime, homelessnes and blight waves sweeping Blue cities, the supply chain, the incoherence of the Administration’s Covid policy, the collapse of the immigration system, the Democrat debacle in Virginia, a mid-term that shows promise to be a wave election, the fact that the top of your ticket is a senile man and a woman who most Americans wouldn’t trust to fill out a bowling scorecard, Latino voters deserting the Democrats by the biggest numbers since 2000, and the most Afro-Americans since 1960, parents deserting and rebelling against “woke” school boards…

LIBRELLE: (Plugs ears, turns and runs) Januaryi 6! January 6! Rethuglicon white supremacist Nazis! January 6…! (Runs out door)

WAITER: Er, what was his…er, her…er, what was the problem?

BERG: Gas, I suspect.

WAITER: I hope…it gets help.

BERG: Don’t we all.

WAITER: Hey – isn’t this one of those “made up conversations“? What is it called in English?

BERG: Satire?

WAITER: What a wonderful invention. What a wonderful country.

BERG: I know, right? Could I see a menu?

WAITER: Certainly…

And SCENE

Gurgitation On Cue

SCENE: Mitch BERG is looking for a new heat gun at a hardware store when Kirk THUNT, used car salesman and chairman of The Arne Carlson Project, an anti-Trump organization based in Forest Lake, walks around the corner.

THUNT: Merg.

BERG: Er…hi ,Kirk…

THUNT: You routinely refuse to condemn Donald Trump for trying to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when he was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: I condemn, and condemned, the riot, the “storming” of the Capitol, and anyone who thought they could overtake the Constitutional process by force. All the talk about killing the Vice President is just baked wind; the Secret Service would have leveled anyone who tried. The electoral commission was alarmed – justifiably – but they finished their job. Democracy was never in danger, and everyone involved is in a world of legal hurt. The federal criminal justice system is doing what it does.

THUNT: The January 6 Commission just learned that Chief of Staff Meadows has text messages proving Trump was involved.

BERG: Maybe they do.

THUNT: Maybe? So you support the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: The commission is an investigation – of sorts. Findings are not a conclusion. I’m not going to pretend I know enough to draw a conclusion, even if my conclusion matters to anyone. Let the investigation run its course.

THUNT: Huh. Let it run its course? So you’re right there behind the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: Again, no. I am saying I believe the left has glommed onto it as a way of deflecting, eternally, away from their many very deliberate attempts to undercut out democracy, and the riots that they supported from 2015 to 2021.

THUNT: Deflection? So – you are a big fan of the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: I’m pretty sure I said exactly the opposite, several times. My “crime” with you seems to be the fact that I haven’t wet myself with outrage over Trump, with regard to this episode or any other during his administration. I was a Trump non-fan back when you were watching The Apprentice. I’m intellectually honest about the things he did right and wrong, but if you’re looking for…

…on cue from me, you’ve got the wrong guy .

THUNT: So you dismiss concerns about the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: For the fourth time in 90 seconds – no. I do think Big Left uses January 6 the same way a certain European socialist leader used this episode. But we’ve got a whole new set of problems to deal with, as a nation and, frankly, as a Republican.

THUNT: So you don’t think the GOP is forever rendered toxic by its association with Trump, meaning you support the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when he was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: Er, Kirk? I’ve just explained that every single point you make is bulls**t. And yet every time you take a breath, you tell me I support the…what is it you say?

THUNT: You are a hypocritical supporter of the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: And again, I am not.

THUNT: Denial means you are an enabler of the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: That’s false.

THUNT: Disagreement means you are a supporter the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: Once you got on the green, you only had to use your putter twice, right?

THUNT: Nonsensical responses mean you support the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

BERG: Look. The heat gun I’m looking for.

THUNT: Using heat guns means you support the attempt to overthrow the government and erase the Constitution on January 6, when Trump was complicit in sending mobs looking for the Vice President, and the Electoral Commission, and members of Congress, to try to kill them.

(But BERG has already left the room)

This Is #NeverTrump

I’ve been frank about my long-term ambivalence (at best) about Donald Trump.

In fact, if the universe were a purely binary construct, I could say with a straight face that the only think I like less than Trump…

…is “#NeverTrump”, the reaction to Trump among Republicans that became ever-more knee-jerk over time, to the point of having “Republicans” endorsing Biden over Trump last year.

One of the worst – and by “worst”, I mean “Most Perennially Dim” – offenders is Tom Nichols.

And on a weekend where the Administration lived down to something far below our worst expectations, Tom Nichols exceeded even them:

Naturally, there are Democrats who, given their dubious critical-thinking skills, accept this notion – that Kristi Noem abrogated her foreign policy and national defense duties attendant to being governor of South Dakota, and being seen in public on a day when the person Tom Nichols endorsed was not.

Life Is Full Of Ironies, If You’re Stupid

A few years ago, when people started talking about the “Dunning Kruger Effect” – the notion that the less someone knows about a subject, the more expert they feel about it – the first thing I thought was “Well, this isn’t going to get turned into a form of onanistic self-ongratulation, used in service of political hackery, nosireebob”.

I was right, of course, judging by this “Dunning-Kruger-For-Dummies”-level primer:

During the 2016 election and in the months after the presidential inauguration, interest in the Dunning-Kruger effect surged. Google searches for “dunning kruger” peaked in May 2017, according to Google Trends, and has remained high since then. Attention spent on the Dunning-Kruger Effect Wikipedia entry has skyrocketed since late 2015.

There’s also “much more research activity” about the effect right now than immediately after it was published, Dunning said. Typically, interest in a research topic spikes in the five years following a groundbreaking study, then fades.

“Obviously it has to do with Trump and the various treatments that people have given him,” Dunning said, “So yeah, a lot of it is political. People trying to understand the other side. We have a massive rise in partisanship and it’s become more vicious and extreme, so people are reaching for explanations.”

“People are trying to understand the other side”, and why politics has become more vicious and extreme, by trying to quantify your opponents idiocy?

Seems legit.

In so many ways:

Many people “cannot wrap their minds around the rise of Trump,” Sloman said. “He’s exactly the opposite of everything we value in a politician, and he’s the exact opposite of what we thought Americans valued.” Some of these people are eager to find something scientific to explain him.

In other words, people using the “Dunning Kruger Effect” to explain the rise of Trump, qua Trump, without understanding the demography and class-conflict aspects of 2016 (and today) are exhibiting…

what pop-psychological syndrome?

I don’t wanna keep seeing the same hands, here…

Ruparing

I’d like to claim this as a late addition to the DFL Dictionary – but alas, it’s actually from the Urban Dictionary:

Rupar (Verb): To purposely (sic) mislead. To completely mischaracterize a statement or video by omitting context.

Yesterday, at a “press conference” on the Capitol steps, as embattled representative John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson, the DFLer from either Saint Paul, Superior or someplace else, was promising not to resign, a woman – “Tammy Jo”, we’re told – drove “onto the Capitol Mall” (looks like the upper parking lot to me) and waved a Trump flag.

KARE11’s John Croman – who is distinguised by being “Not Quite Esme Murphy” – tweeted what would appear to be a troubling outburst:

Now, my first thought was that “Tammy Jo” was likely a DFL plant, a DFLer from Woodbury, sent to lend Thompson and his press conference a cleansing blast of the unambiguous victimhood that is his only line. That, I surmised, would explain why not a single member of our city’s press corps – the people who ran down “Umbrella Man” and his life story run down while the rubble was still burning last year – has come up with a complete identification of “Tammy Jo”.

I’m sure it’ll happen.

But even given the in-the-bagginess of the Twin Cities media, that seemed a bit of a stretch.

Still – it’s not merely the Twin Cities media; it’s KARE11, the station that led the local TV market to “Woke”-ness. There’s got to be a DFL-upsucking angle, I thought. I mean, this wasn’t a “hate crime” per se, but Berg’s 20th Law seems to be proximate: “All incidents of “hate speech” not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise.” There might need to be an Esme Murphy Corollary: “Hoaxes, and/or DFL PR operations”.

Because the DFL had a need, and Croman fulfilled it.

Leave it to David Steinberg, who on issue after issue – Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar, the riots, the Minneapolis City Council – does the reporting the Minnesota Media can’t be bothered, or haven’t been told by Ken Martin they’re allowed, to do.

So – what really happened?

Aaron Rupar isn’t the disease. Coming from the Twin Cities media scene as he did, he’s just a symptom.

Generation Gaslit

This entire thread…

…may be the best single summation of the post-Tea=Party right-of-center landscape I’ve seen since, well, the Tea Party.

It’s going to be the subject of a solid chunk of my show on Saturday.

Threefer Madness

President Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine,
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of
Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined every
single Democrat in voting guilty.

No word on whether Democrats and turncoat RINOs will commence a third
impeachment attempt against the man who left office January 20th, or
whether they will instead seek to impeach a different Republican former
President such as Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover or
Abraham Lincoln.

Joe Doakes

Will the Dems try for three?

Depends on:

a) How badly Biden continues to bungle Covid, and

b) How quickly the Ted Cruz deflection peters out.

Preventive Hygiene

Democrats seek to impeach Donald Trump, not to remove him from office,
but to make sure he can’t hold office again.

They rely on Article 1, Section 3, last paragraph, which provides:
“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to
removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office
of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States . . ..”

My question: suppose the Republican nominee is unacceptable to RINOs and
a genuine threat to Democrats.  Could Congress use this precedent to ram
through a quick impeachment to prevent that person from taking office?

Why bother with the effort and expense of printing up all those fake
ballots?  Simply impeach every opponent and you can rule the country
forever.

Joe Doakes

I see a thriving business in pre-impaching potential GOP candidates.

Open-ish Thread

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails with a great idea

How about a new series of posts entitled something like “Walking it
Back” in which we detail the lies told during the Trump administration
which now are admitted to have been lies?

Exhibit one.

Joe Doakes

Keep ’em coming in the comment section.

Please note – comments that are not examples of media and Democrat (ptr) lies about Trump will be deleted, sooner than later. 99.9% of the posts on this blog have barely-moderated comment threads (on both sides). This is an exception.

Carry on.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 1: The Devil Wears Orange

Donald Trump inspired clichés by the big-box store-load long before he dipped his toe into politics. Even back when he was a pop-culture hero of sorts among the crowd that worshipped blinged-out idols, even before MC Hammer brought it to the mainstream:

Y’know – back when he was a Democrat.

You don’t need me to list Trump’s faults as a person, politician and President – indeed, we have a multi-billion dollar industry devoted entirely not only to cataloging them, but making up new ones out of thin air.

We’ll come back to them.

The Usual Bla Bla Bla

But along with all of the faults imagined from whole cloth (the “Fine People” slander hops to mind – which, again, we’ll come back to later), and his many offenses against the supposed decorum of the Presidency (real or imagined – and I’ll skip past Bill Clinton’s desporting himself in the Oval Office to jump back to Woodrow Wilson using it as a de facto Ku Klux Klan field office to try to introduce a little context into the notion of decorum), he had some real ones; I can’t help but think if he’d just turned his Twitter feed over to a moderately clever mid-level staffer, he could have kept the “outflank the media” aspects of his social presence without the, let’s be honest, crazy and intemperate and, God help me for saying it, unpresidential parts of his public presence. Enough to have won the election? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Of course, to be intellectually honest, you – and by “you”, I mean “the Never Trump clacque” – need to admit he did some things very, very well. For starters, he did the one thing I, a Trump skeptic, had hoped for, and exceeded my hopes by half; he empaneled a genuine originalist majroitiy on the SCOTUS. And in foreign policy terms, he may have been the most successful President we’ve had since George HW Bush, and Reagan’st first term before him.

Never Never Land

The previous paragraph might be read as a swipe at the “Never Trump” crowd – which includes some people I respect very much, and some I never really did, and some for whom I’ve gradually lost regard over time.

“Never Trump” largely, if not completely, devolved into a bunch of scolds of no more political use than the Libertarian Party, chanting “I Told You So” with all the convincing authority of that “Karen” who yaps at you about putting your groceries on the conveyor before the cashier has sanitized it.

I say this as someone who has been an active Trump skeptic since 1986 – back when most Democrats and Never-Trumpers were making Trump a TV star through most of the 2000s, as I’m fond of pointing out – and who was actively interested in “Never Trump” activities up to and including reviving the Federalist party around this time five years ago.

The Real Deplorable Thing

But the biggest problem with Trump isn’t Trump. The media and pop culture would have said many of the same things about Mitt Romney or John McCain or Marco Rubio, or most likely Martin Luther King if he were alive today and voting Republican.

Trump won in the first place because he saw the left’s strategy – harness the populist power of identity politics – and, for five years, did it better than the Progressives. He turned blue collar whites, and people in Red state in general, into an identity group and fairly coherent voting bloc – finally ending the 100 year old notion that Democrats were “the party of the working man” once and for all.

So populism was the car that drove him to the White House. Where he governed in some ways as a conservative (in foreign policy terms, on the SCOTUS, in slashing regulation), and in some ways as the most profligate “progressive” in history (he spent like the Democrat he used to be).

But there was something worse.

Personality

Remember Ron Paul? In 2008 and 2012, a lot of Republicans, especially younger ones, staged and insurgency in the GOP behind the Texas Libertarian-Republican. Much as I supported much of what Paul stood for (domestically, at least – his foreign and defense policies were just as historically ignorant as the Libertarian Party’s), looking at his mobs of idealistic acolytes, I asked more than once “You do realize that even if he’s elected, he’ll be able to do nothing he promises, since there’s not a majority of Paulite House and Senate candidates running to help push the agenda, right? And that the only way to enact that idealistic vision of government would be for Paul to stage a libertarian coup, and impose an absolute Libertarian dictatorship, and force Liberty on the people against their will.

There was no telling that to the Paul Kids – not back then, anyway. Such is the allure of the personality cult, among those who haven’t really paid attention to how much drag and lag and need for consensus is (as of 2020) built into the system.

And Trump certainly developed his own personality cult in the GOP.

On the one hand – the Never Trumpers remind us – Trumpism is not conservatism. And they’re right. It’s populism, and populism, giving people what they want now, is only rhetorically distinguishable between the Left and the Right. “Trumpism” tramples the principles of conservatism behind which the GOP…

…er…

…I was going to say “behind which the GOP stands”. Of course, the GOP, at least in DC, hasn’t for a long time.

We’ll come back to that.

Anyway – “Trumpism” turned, at least at the point of the retail-political sphere, into a personality cult, no less impervious to logic than the Hillary or Obama cults, no less focused on the person rather than the policy than the Ron Paul fan club.

To far too many Trump supporters in all of our social circles, policy wasn’t the goal; Trump was.

And given the GOP’s behavior over the past decade, why wouldn’t someone who didn’t care about how the political sausage was made, but how awful it tasted, see it any differently?

We’ll come back to that two episodes down the road.

It’d be easy, and facile, but no more than a little inaccurate, to say last week’s riot at the Capitol was about keeping the person in office (assuming you discount the notion that “Anti”-Fa provocateurs did the job – and for purposes of this argument, I do), rather than the policies and the repudiation of the oppression of Big Left. To way too many people, Trump doesn’t lead the effort against the toxic, narcissistic marginalization that Democrats relentless focus on identity politics brings; he is that effort.

It’s a toxic perception – indeed, a toxic reality. Democracy dies in cultism.

That cult didn’t occur in a vacuum, of course.

More on that coming up next.

Noted For Future Reference

Ashli Babbit was shot and killed in the United States Capitol during a
demonstration to protest the election. Early reports indicate Ashli was
married and a veteran,she was unarmed, and she was shot by a police
officer.

Other early reports and photos suggest Antifa infiltrators caused the
major damage to provoke a backlash against President Trump supporters
and that the violence was successful in convincing Senators to lay aside
concerns about the stolen election in order to rush through
certification of Joe Biden as President.

Early reports are always confused; I urge application of Berg’s
Eighteenth Law of Media Latency.

And remember that even if a few dozen agitators spoiled the party,
hundreds of thousands showed up to engage in lawful political protest
and millions more wish they could have. Congress, RINOs, the media and
the Deep State can huff and puff about decorum and attempt to shame us
with double standards but in the end, it boils down to Never-Trumpers
sneering, “Let them eat cake.”

We’ll remember that.

Joe Doakes

First things first – as a practical suggestion, Republican / conservative / Trump groups need to make a point of having saturation level surveillance of their events, especially demonstrations. This is something we learned during the Tea Party – when someone shows up in a racist T-shirt, it’s good to be able to crowd-source them and prove that they were actually a Democrat operative (which happened during the Tea Party A lot).

More on this, likely, tomorrow on the show and next week in the blog.

Profiles In Courage

As clubby, self-referential and solipsistic as the modern “elite” (and even not-so-elite) media is, I should have probably predicted we’d see scenes like this whenever Trump was on the brink of leaving office.

Never mind that “the Lightworker” Obama was did a whole lot more actual oppressing of “journos” than Trump.


Links

No. To these coddled hamsters…:

…covering Trump was up there with going ashore with the first wave on Omaha Beach, or like riding in a B24 with Charles Collingwood.

Which is a little ironic, given that The LIghtworker was, in fact, the most press-hostile President since Woodrow Wilson – and given the deep-state leaks with which the executive branch was riven, it would have been pointless for The Donald to even try to match Obama’s record.

Denormalizing

Remember December 1, 2016?

Maybe not.

But if you don’t, I consider it my mission to make sure that date lives on – dare I say, in infamy.

It was the date that reps from the New York Times and Washington Post newsrooms went on the air and told the nation…

…well, the tiny, self-selecting part of the nation that listens to NPR on the weekend – that it was time for the news media to stop playing by the rules that they always told the nation they played by, the whole “telling people the facts and let them draw their own concusions” thing, and started using their power to “de-normalize” President Trump.

And almost four years later, here we are:

Not Martin Van Buren, the most genuinely corrupt president in history.

Not James Buchanan, the inept buffoon who all but sent out engraved invitations to the Civil War.

Not Woodrow Wilson, the Princeton dean who lied about keeping the nation out of war, did more than any other single person to federalize and weaponize Jim Crow and empower the Klan, and launch the bureaucratic state that’s eating the nation alive today.

No. Trump. A coarse populist buffoon who has, nonetheless, pretty much done what he said he’d do (start bringing troops home, revive the economy after the slowest recovery since the Depression, nominate conservative SCOTUS justices), a few nobody expected (roll the ball farther toward peace in the middle east than any president, defeated ISIS), and brought the extreme delusional madness of the left fully out in the open, where (if America is wise) it can be stomped on hard, God willing…

…oh. I get it now.

I Try…

…to punch up. To treat people with respect. To treat people the way I’d like to be treated. To always take the high road.

But Maureen Dowd?

I’m going to take a walk on the dark side, here.

MoDo is an invincibly stupid person.

This Is Your Twin Cities Media

The flotsam and jetsam of the left’s social media legion of the invincibly depraved has legs so tingly this morning at the news the POTUS and FLOTUS have Covid, they had to drag themselves hand over hand to the kitchen to make their avocado toast.

Of course, they were in Duluth before the news broke, so the Twin Cities media has jumped into high gear to investigate, not ballot harvesting (oh, good heavens, no) but just how close Minnesota’s GOP congresspeople and candidates actually were to the President.

Strib columnist Jennifer Brooks:

Don’t worry, Jen. John Thompson is on it.

If the FCOTUS recover without complications – fingers crossed, prayers being prayed – I’m almost tempted to send all these “journalists” sympathy cards.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Democrats want me to believe 160,000 Americans died on Trump’s watch because he could have prevented the virus and didn’t; therefore. we should elect Biden to replace him

Really?

Perhaps someone could lay out the step-by-step plan by which President Trump could have prevented a virus from killing old sick people this Spring or the step-by-step-plan by which President Biden will prevent it from killing them next Winter.

A timetable and citations to statutory authority would be helpful.

Joe Doakes