The Corner

Politics & Policy


Sometimes, people accuse me of being reminded, at every turn, of something that Bill Buckley said. Well, that reminds me of the time Bill said …

Anyway, I was reading about Hugh Hewitt’s latest interview of Donald Trump, and I was indeed reminded of WFB. First, though, the relevant part of Hugh’s interview:

HH: “Last night, you said the president was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”

DJT: “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. …”

HH: “But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.”

DJT: “I don’t care. He was the founder. The way he got out of Iraq was, that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”

HH: “… But by using the term founder … Mistake?”

DJT: “No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. …”

HH: “… I think I would say they [President Obama and Hillary Clinton] lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.”

DJT: “Well, I disagree.”

HH: “All right, that’s okay.”

DJT: “I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.”

HH: “That’s …”

DJT: “If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.”

HH: “That’s true.”

DJT: “Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.”

On October 6, 1976, President Ford and Jimmy Carter had their second debate. Ford said that the Eastern Europeans were not dominated by the Soviet Union. (He apparently meant that the United States could not accept the legitimacy of Soviet domination of those countries.) The debate was moving on, but Max Frankel of the New York Times intervened to say, in effect, “Surely, Mr. President, you did not mean to say what you just said.” And Ford doubled down, as we’d say here in the 2010s.

Okay, here’s WFB, In his column, Buckley wrote,

What Mr. Ford said is, frankly, inexplicable — notwithstanding the explanations he and his aides have attempted. It is as if Ford had said, during a general discussion of the great rivers of the world and the problems of flood control, “Fortunately, the Mississippi River doesn’t flow through the United States.” Everybody looks up and someone finally says, “You do mean the Amazon doesn’t flow through the United States, don’t you, Mr. President?”

And he says, “No. I mean the Mississippi. M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i.”

Can you blame me for loving him so? Can you?

P.S. Back to Donald Trump. Hugh Hewitt suggested that it was a mistake for Trump to call Obama the founder of ISIS. Trump said, “No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it.” Most people at his rallies would like it. But the main point is whether something is true or false, right or wrong.

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