Monday, January 30, 2017

A horrible move tactically, but, as we know, that's how he rolls

Your must-read-in its-entirety piece for today is "A Disastrous Day for Trump" by Noah Rothman at Commentary.

And, as I usually do when I tell you to read something in its entirety, I will tease you with a few money lines.

There's this:

On Saturday, Donald Trump revealed once again why the insidious cult of the manager is a blight upon the American imagination. In the process, he also sacrificed his credibility and humiliated his core supporters.
In the campaign season, Donald Trump sold himself to the public as first and foremost a fixer. His principal qualification for high office was his lack of experience in government and a healthy disrespect for the political process. He was populist, yes, but also non-ideological. To the extent that his policy preferences could be expanded upon in detail, they drew from both Democratic and Republican prescriptions. Trump presented himself as above the petty ideological squabbles that have paralyzed Washington for decades. He was invested only in what worked.
The lie to all this was laid bare on Saturday amid a remarkable display of executive rigidity and incompetence.
And this:

Those who believe in the necessity of this executive action and the value of restrictions on both legal and illegal immigration should be livid with this president. A reckless administration carelessly mishandled their policy preferences. In response to the draconian and needlessly injurious execution of this policy, spontaneous mass protests overtook America’s transportation hubs and galvanized Donald Trump’s opposition. The scope of the political damage done both to their cause and its champion in the White House is unclear, but damage has been done. 
A number of tempting positions are available to me at this moment, including "We tried to tell you slavish Trump-bots" to "We who were #NeverTrumpers to the bitter end have clean hands; we don't have to own the non-conservative aspects of what he does."

And I guess such positions are a significant part of where I'm coming from.

But I think about Rothman's use of the word "damage," a two-syllable summation of his entire essay.

There will be more.

And I think about the posts at this site over the months since July 2015 that I have directed to those Trump-bots, posts in which I named names and let some contempt flavor my prose.

Contempt is an attitude that can get spiritually corrosive real fast, so it requires careful handling.

But there is no one to blame but DJT's water carriers for the sidelining of the three-pillared conservatism (a term I employ even as I'm aware of the risk of it making my argument tiresome) that informs everything about my worldview.

Yes, sidelining. To the rejoinder "How can you say that? Look at all the great cabinet appointments. Look at the de-fanging of the EPA, the forward movement on pipelines, the three final contenders for the SCOTUS nomination," I need only point to what Rothman articulates with searing precision.

And while we're talking about contempt, how about the way the Trump-bots use of amorphous terms like "globalism" and "elites" to gin up frenzy, their setting up of trade deals as some sort of primary culprit in the decline in manufacturing-sector employment, and their conflation of bona fide squishes (Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich) with principled conservatives made sure that the it-has-to-be-Trump wildfire spread through the right-of-center voting populace?

I'm not saying that the Left would not have staged mass exhibitions of outrage in response to the moves of a President Cruz or a President Rubio, but there would have been no pollution of the principles involved, so that defense of those moves would not be hobbled by awkward qualifications.

So to those who are still of the he-has-a-whole-new-style-but-boy-does-he-have-the-lefties'-panties-in-a-wad mindset, I say, "I'd watch it if I were you. This is only the beginning of hopelessly messy conflagrations you are going to have to try to take sensible stands on."

How I want to tell myself that maybe this is a one-off egregious lapse in judgement.

But I've been studying this whole phenomenon closely and I know better.

It was a mistake to nominate him.


  1. Fantastic. "Those who believe in the necessity of this executive action and the value of restrictions on both legal and illegal immigration should be livid with this president. A reckless administration carelessly mishandled their policy preferences." Good, good stuff right there.

  2. That is the term 'The 2016 Election of Conflagrations", Maybe eventually it will result in fresh air. Or is this a sinewy sparsely sophisticated sarcasm society setting standards?