Everybody’s got reactions. I do too. More than once have I been called a “reactionary”! Some quick points.
‐Trump began by praising Obama for cooperating in a model transition. Trump must have changed his mind. On December 28, he tweeted, “Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!”
‐Before the Republican convention, I had this thought: that Trump’s acceptance speech would be artful, nuanced, pretty — not the true Trump. Trump with a mask on. I was wrong. It was pure, 100 percent Trump. Total Trump.
Same with today’s speech. Same with the inaugural address. Exactly the same.
‐There was almost no difference between this inaugural address and Trump’s convention speech, or one of his rally speeches. Is that commendable? The opposite? Should Trump be thanked for his consistency? For wearing no mask?
‐The inaugural address was just like Trump’s final television ad — his “closing argument” of the campaign. The address, like the ad, painted America as a kind of hellscape. Today, Trump used the phrase “American carnage.” Elites conspire to do down the little guy.
I do not think this view comports with reality. But it is Trump’s view, and that of millions. (It has always been so, frankly, in places around the world.)
‐Especially in ’08 and ’09, we conservatives mocked Obama for a Year Zero mentality. “Before me, nothing; with me, everything.” In this respect, Trump is even worse.
‐Contrary to what Trump says, our government has always been controlled by the people. Here, the people have always ruled — through administrations we have liked and administrations we have disliked. Trump is the people’s choice (via the Electoral College). So were Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter …
(I will grant you that Ford was unique! And an excellent man.)
‐Trump will eradicate Islamist terrorism from the face of the earth? Good. That’s a mighty vow.
‐When the speech ended, I could almost picture Steve Bannon smiling and thinking, “Couldn’t have said it better myself.”
‐Trump’s inaugural address was boastful, huffy, ungracious, half cocked, and demagogic. It was almost certainly the most demagogic inaugural address in our history. And millions loved it, even as they love him.
How do I know that millions loved it? I have heard from some of them on Twitter! They use pretty strong language (about me in particular). And they stand for a great many others, of course.
There is a gap between those who think that Trump is fit for the presidency, in mind and character, and those who don’t. That gap is damn near unbridgeable.
‐To my ears, Trump’s address was nasty and borderline un-American — for all its talk of patriotism and “America First.”
‐My favorite part of the address was its brevity.
‐We on the right love to mock the Left for “safe spaces.” For feeling “triggered.” I trust that no conservative will ever need a safe space on hearing criticism of Trump. Better to leave those things to Brown University.
‐Finally — I should have begun with this! — God bless America. See you.