Shot In The Dark: Today’s News Fifteen Years Ago

Victor Davis Hanson notes something that could well become a Berg’s Law:  Republican Presidents are always “literally Hitler” until another Republiican is in office:

Once a Republican president loses an election or retires after two terms — and is followed by a liberal Democrat — his reputation hits bottom. But once a new Republican president enters office, the prior and now-powerless Republican ex-president is airbrushed into a model of statesmanship to contrast the ogre currently in the White House.

Republican presidencies are seen on a downward spiral of always becoming worse — by always redefining formerly despised presidents as at least better than their monstrous successors.

When a conservative president has the power to enact a conservative agenda, he is a media demon compared with his now-saintly Republican predecessors. Of course, in retirement, they have no power to do anything.

Such reinvention insidiously works to keep former Republican presidents quiet.

One wonders what rhetorical wonders await whomever wins the presidency after Trump…

10 thoughts on “Shot In The Dark: Today’s News Fifteen Years Ago

  1. Eye wonder too 😉 That last sentence set me thinking of how the Never Trumpers are going to react. They claim the mantle of True Conservatives and truly conservative activities have been performed thus far – enough that even the host of this fair site acknowledges them.

  2. Literally Hitler falls flat. Literally is too tired a word, so well worn you can see right through it.

    What to say instead?


    Hold the presses, change the headline.

    Donald Trump is ACTUALLY Hitler. Maybe Hitler never died, maybe he is reincarnated every time a Republican runs for office. It doesn’t matter.

    Actually is so much better a word.

  3. It would be a mistake to assume that the inevitable departure of Trump will mean the end of Trump’s populist politics. What has worked for Trump will work for others, as well. Certainly there will be those that try. A future of comfortable majorities extending well into the future for a center left Democratic party at all levels of government seems a stretch. So counting on the US for competent liberal internationalism over the next generation may lead to disappointment. Trump isn’t the problem; he’s a symptom.

  4. For once I agree with Emery.
    The populist/economic nationalist moment is not a USA only phenomenon, not even close.
    One way to look at it is that the advance of global economics had begun to damage local cultural institutions so badly there was bound to be a backlash. It used to be the Soviets who thought of man as economic man. Now the Western powers do this.
    The people who adapt, will thrive.

  5. I suspect that many people today who are proud of their anti-populism are, in fact, anti-democracy.

  6. EI and MP make good points, but name one mini-Trump that succeeded in the 2016 election or in a special election since. Am I missing someone? While you point out significant troubling changes in economics and demographics, I’m not sure the Right has yet evidenced they are willing to buy into the ideology like they have bought into the image of Trump.

  7. I am so old, I remember in the 1990s, the Left were pointing to Neocons as the reasonable Republicans, as they supported Clinton’s interventions in Haiti and Bosnia, etc., and were insouciant about debt from domestic programs.

  8. If you want a revolution, make people feel as though their lives depend on economic forces they cannot control.
    Both the GOP and Democratic elites claim that there is only one path to a happy future before us, and they know what it is. And the GOP and Democratic establishment paths look remarkably the same.
    The very first sentence in Jonah Goldberg’s latest book (The Suicide of the West), is “There is no God in this book”, and Goldberg repeatedly claims that history has no teleology. Yet the premise of the book is that by making certain political decisions now, we can direct a future to come into being. Placing man in the position of being the architect of the future is the mistake made by Marxists.

  9. Pingback: Late Night With In The Mailbox: 05.18.18 : The Other McCain

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.