There is little more to be said about the election result. Though my preference was known to readers and has been favored by the voters, I am disconcerted by the divisions that have arisen among former allies, especially between thoughtful conservatives. I always feared that the arrival of neoconservatives en masse in the Republican party in the Carter years, while it made the Reagan Republicans the party of ideas, did not really influence many voters. I thought that my friends Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol and others had scored a free goal with the generally uncontested assertion that they had moved a good many voters indirectly.
I am afraid that this year, as George Will, Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz, Bret Stephens, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Rich Lowry and others in this magazine, David Frum, and many others have defected, many to Hillary Clinton, they have done regrettable damage to the lasting credibility of their policy perspective (which I generally share). Gabe Schoenfeld is one of a number who have completely flipped their corks and are advising the detritus of their readership to fight to the death for the impeachment of Trump as soon as he is inaugurated, on grounds yet to be identified but somehow connected to anti-Semitism (not an impeachable offense and not an attitude Trump has ever held or expressed). Charles Krauthammer has survived with his honor intact, having admitted but trailed well behind the Trump phenomenon all the way through, and Peggy Noonan comes through well as she vehemently decried the obscene partisanship of the media and has wished the president-elect well across the barrier of her reservations about his familiarity with the issues and processes he will now have to tackle.
At the other end from the Schoenfeld martyrs planning Trump’s early impeachment for what can only be called, in Kafka’s phrase, “nameless crimes,” is my ever glacially confident friend, George Will, blandly predicting that Trump will have to staff his administration with the existing Republican cadres and the same think tanks that are chiefly identified with the failed efforts of the Bushes, John McCain, and Mitt Romney (whose virtues, in their hour of desperation and disembarkation from the great Washington sleaze factory, the Clintonians have miraculously discovered, as worthy opponents).
In fact, Trump does not have to go back to the well of those whom he deposed from control of the Republican party. His chief of staff, the party chairman, Reince Priebus, can advise on the loyalists and those who have had the grace of plausible conversion. But General Eisenhower packed his administration with military officers (Lucius Clay, Bedell Smith, Jerry Persons, etc.); JFK packed his with fellow Ivy Leaguers, President Johnson with Texans, and President Reagan with Californians. Donald Trump, as the first serious businessman ever elected to the U.S. presidency, may shrink the White House bureaucracy and may engage people from occupations and disciplines that he considers more promising than those who have provided the brainwaves for those Republicans whom he has stigmatized as failures and who have fought him, tooth and nail.
The hecatomb of the liberal commentariat will be upliftingly immense: An ossuary is being filled with the mortal remains of the credibility of many of the most strident of the alt-Trumpophobes (to inflict some of their silly jargon on them). Obama has miraculously retained a fair level of personal popularity, although two-thirds of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction, but there was no argument for the reelection of the Democrats. This administration has not accomplished anything useful except the execution of bin Laden, and the entire Democratic campaign was an outrageously vituperative attack on Trump, which he somewhat facilitated by the florid political incorrectnesses he employed to sweep out the other 16 candidates for the Republican nomination. It is traditional that Republicans have to campaign to the right and Democrats to the left to gain their parties’ nominations, and then have to campaign toward the center in the election. This truism was amplified this year by the fact that Clinton had to beat off a democratic Marxist, Senator Bernie Sanders, and that Trump shattered his party by denouncing the Bush-McCain-Romney mainstream as wobbly losers and “squishes,” as Senator Ted Cruz would say, and attacked Cruz as a double-talking poseur clamoring mindlessly for the shutdown of the government.
The liberal apparatus that hijacked America in the Reagan aftermath amplified Trump’s absurd but explicable indiscretions as a candidate for the nomination to portray him as a monster of Hitlerian proportions, the incarnation of misogyny, racism, and incitement to violence, as well as a megalomaniacal narcissist. Their most stentorian cheerleaders, as often happens with the Big Lie, convinced themselves more thoroughly than their audiences. On my follow-up appearance with Fareed Zakaria on CNN this past Sunday, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker and hagiographer of Barack Obama, responded to me that he thought he was hallucinating when he heard me say that Trump isn’t a racist and a sexist. (I replied that I thought I too was hearing things when President Obama told large election crowds that Trump was a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. Answer, came there, none.) The Clintonocracy must have assumed they could end the match by releasing the fragmentation grenade of Trump’s coarse discussion of women with Billy Bush eleven years ago. The Trump campaign was disintegrating as he arrived for the second debate, two days after release of the Bush tape, but in a singular triumph of strength and composure, he won the debate.
At his worst, Donald Trump is a blowhard and a big mouth, but is full of goodwill to almost everyone and without ethnic prejudice or condescension to women. Pathetic attempts have been launched to portray him as anti-gay, but he buried that after the Orlando shootings and there was never any truth to any of it. Trump’s reply to it, naturally, was to highlight the operations of the Clinton Foundation, a pay-to-play casino of hypertrophic proportions, and the FBI director’s implicit assertion that Mrs. Clinton was an unindicted perjurer over her scandalous e-mail activities. As Mrs. Clinton robotically recited her mantra, “When they go low, we go high,” the Democrats hurled these practically unfounded charges of bigotry, sexual depravity, and lunacy at Trump, who appeared to a majority of Americans as a normal, if egocentric, alpha male with a beautiful wife. His failings were matters of style and attitude; hers were potentially indictable offenses, in a country where the prosecutors almost always win, regardless of guilt or innocence. The Clinton world has darkened quickly, like Robespierre’s.
It will be a painful climb-down for the Left; their entire mythos is crumbling into dust.
It will be a painful climb-down for the Left; their entire mythos is crumbling into dust. Outgoing Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid claimed it was Trump’s responsibility to make placatory noises as scatterings of Clinton supporters threw bricks and bottles at police — followers of the candidate who said a week before that any Trump resistance to the outcome was “a threat to American democracy.” One could only be thankful that this contemptible retread who construed the leadership of the Senate to be a platform for gridlock, facilitation of government by executive order, and the abdication and abasement of the Senate to the phantasmagoric caprices of a failed administration, is returning to the enfolding embrace of the dubious Nevada interests who inflicted him on Washington originally and kept him there.
The New York Times provided the most exquisite capitulation of all. Its leaders imagined, or at least hoped, that an early partial confession (“modified limited hang-out” in Watergatese), would satisfy the executioner — the ever more aroused American public, now unleashed on the entire bipartisan liberal terror of prolonged self-interested misgovernment. The executive editor of the Times, Dean Baquet, decided early on, because of Trump’s “sheer unconventionality,” to convert reporting into advocacy and attack Trump as vehemently as possible, without the slightest pretense to impartiality or any distinction between reporting and comment. Thus, when it became clear that Trump would win, “our newsroom turned on a dime and did what it has done for nearly two years — cover the 2016 election with agility and creativity.” The implicit admission was that the Times had been whoring for the Democrats (“creativity”) and decided to play it straight as the Obamas and Clintons were being tipped into the proverbial dustbin of history. It was not Trump’s lack of orthodoxy that caused the Times “to underestimate his support among American voters,” it was the relentless partisan bigotry of the Times; and this feeble, inelegant pastiche of semi-apologies will not shield the Times from being shorn in the public square of its liberated readers for its slatternly misconduct. Deathbed conversions are robust acts of faith compared with the Times’ sleazy claim to have had only a momentary lapse of pristine professionalism.
#related#The dam has burst in the storm of popular revolt, and by the light of the thunderbolt, the old regime is exposed in its ghastly infirmity. Those who have betrayed the public trust, including most of the media and pollsters and the whole anthill of the decaying carcass of the federal government, should be shamed, not, other than in a few egregious cases, prosecuted. The decisive moment came when the FBI, under pressure from Trump’s well-founded allegations against Mrs. Clinton’s likely falsehoods to investigators of her use of e-mails, cracked open like a ripe pomegranate and the slippery and duplicitous director, James Comey, announced the reopening of the investigation of the e-mails. It was like a factional struggle in the infamous ISI of Pakistan, so well presented in the series Homeland. In a final Herculean effort to patch through to the election, the regime prevailed upon the gymnastic FBI director to pretend that 650,000 more e-mails had been found to be innocuous in a week and to re-shut the reopened inquiry. It was too late for the Clinton campaign, for the tainted Comey, and for the bedraggled FBI.
It awaits the oldest and wealthiest person ever elected to the presidency of the U.S., and the only one of modern times to have paid for his own campaign, and the first since General George Washington to forgo his official salary, to excise a rot in the federal institutions of America that in the grandiosity of its decay has attained a scale worthy of the imperishably great nation it threatens.