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Politics & Policy

How Can It Get Any Weirder?

Okay, so it’s not just Dick Cheney but now John Bolton who is supporting the guy who says Bush lied us into the Iraq War (and that Bush deserves blame for 9/11). Trump may not be my cup of tea, but I have to give him credit: He understands people – both average voters (who give him majorities in state after state) and politicians and policy types (who support him for their own reasons). Understanding people’s psychology, and using that to get them to do what you want, is an important gift, maybe the most important gift, for a leader. I just wish I could be confident that a President Trump would use this gift to move America in a positive direction. Most of what I saw of him in the campaign was not reassuring on this score.

Still, there are some conservatives who are not knuckling under to the New Normal of Trumpism Triumphant. One of my favorite resisters is the beloved conservative humorist P. J. O’Rourke, who says –wait for it – he’s voting for Hillary. And his explanation is interesting:

I am endorsing Hillary. The second worst thing that could happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place, you know? She’s wrong about absolutely everything — but she’s wrong within normal parameters! . . .   I mean, this man just can’t be president of the US. I mean, they got this button, it’s in a briefcase, he’s gonna find it.

Now, remember: P. J. O’Rourke is so right-wing that he once made fun of FDR as being on the wheelchair ramp to the Gates of Hell. That right-wing enough for ya? This is no “RINO GOPe cuck squish” we’re talking about here.

A lot of people are confident that Trump will lose, and lose big. I disagree: I think either of these candidates can win. Hillary has certain immense demographic advantages, but Trump is an extremely gifted politician. (I mean, come on: He is good at this. He got a party full of conservatives to nominate him, even though he’s liberal in many ways and even a Hillary donor, over Ted Cruz, who is the conservative dream candidate, and a bunch of other impressive conservatives.) So Trump can win – but if he doesn’t, it will be because enough Americans agree with P.J. that Hillary is “wrong within normal parameters.”

This election will about America’s re-measuring of what “normal parameters” are.


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