The Corner

White House

That Helsinki Feeling

My column on Helsinki elicited several responses. I’ll mention and respond to three here.

First, an email:

So you hate the President and you would like [your readers] to do likewise. Does that equate to bigotry? Which is defined as an inability to see anything positive in the subject or person or group. You show massive arrogance in assuming that anyone would see that as acceptable.

Your opinion is hopelessly compromised in your opening remarks.

I rate you an F. And that is stretching it.

My response: I don’t think any sentence in your email is sensible, which I guess by your definition means I’m bigoted against it.

Second, many emails and tweets along the lines of this comment (which was not directed at me). An example: “Your defense of Trump is unconvincing. Pride about the 2016 election can’t explain why he was sucking up to Putin during the campaign. . .”

My response: I attributed Trump’s comments about Russia to his longstanding admiration for what he regards as the strength of dictators and to his fear that acknowledging Russian interference in the election would tarnish his victory. Even in this odd world of ours, I don’t see how that counts as a “defense.” More generally, I think the argument Ross Douthat lays out as “theory one” is the best fit for the facts we have.

Third, another email, which I’ll quote in its entirety but with orthodox capitalization: “It is insulting and sexist to call Hillary Clinton a ‘lousy candidate’ when she won the popular vote by 3 million votes.”

My responses: Winning the popular vote wasn’t the job; and losing to a candidate whom most voters regarded as dishonest and unqualified is not a mark of great political appeal.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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