Magazine | July 30, 2018, Issue

George Will’s Earthquake

George Will at CPAC 2014 (Gage Skidmore)

Several noted conservatives have insisted that decent people on the right vote Democrat this fall to restrain Trump and bring sanity back to the party. As one astonished citizen tweeted:

“There really isn’t a way to express how seismic it is for @GeorgeWill of all people to tell Republicans to vote for Democrats in November.”

All due respect, but yes, there is a way to express the seismicity. “At 1:17 p.m. pst, a three-block area of Los Angeles experienced an imperceptible clinking of the china in the cabinet, owing to geological activity that barely registered on any seismographs.”

Consider the following.

Conservatives: “We want less government, 2A rights, a commitment to free speech, defunding of Planned Parenthood, border control, robust domestic-energy policies, entitlement reform. Also spell-check for Twitter so the president doesn’t complain about the Special Consell.”

Liberals: “We want gun bans and confiscation, free abortions for Down-syndrome fetuses, because hey, Iceland does it and they are so awesome, we went there last year, and it was amazing? Anyway, also open borders, hate-speech exceptions to the First Amendment, high gas taxes, free college, government jobs for anyone, a guaranteed basic income, a $15 minimum wage, and my parents’ Netflix password. They changed it when I left home, which was mean and so typical.”

Trump: Tweets some off-the-cuff warburgargle.

Wise solons of the Right: “Conservatism’s only hope is giving the congressional majority to people who oppose us on every issue.”

Let’s apply this to other situations in life.

Football quarterback at halftime: “Okay, coach, what’s next?”

Coach: “I don’t like the way you signaled that last play. You didn’t enunciate. When you stepped back from the pocket it looked as if you were mocking the other team’s quarterback, who tends to favor his left leg. You’re moving the ball, yes, but your unorthodox style is alienating not just the players on the bench but many people in the stands who are rooting for the other team.”

QB: “Coach, we’re up 37 points. I completed every throw to Butgorsich — ”

Coach: “Enough with the Butgorsich. I’m replacing the defensive line with folding chairs, and I want you to get sacked on the next ten possessions. Maybe then the team will learn that it’s not important to gain yardage — what matters is having a losing season year after year so we can fund-raise off the word ‘rebuilding.’”

Rest of the team, overhearing the conversation: “Why is the coach wearing the foam head of the other team’s mascot?”

Jump ahead to 2020. Let’s say Elon Musk builds Hillary a quality exoskeleton that can’t be detected under street clothes, and it also contains a jetpack that will fly her to Wisconsin no matter how much she protests. Or the Dems put up someone who is authentically ethnic and female, meaning she’s on the left. (Females who believe in smaller government are not actual women and give birth to lifelike dolls that grow up to be TV newscasters.) Either candidate would be expected to run on a ticket of Giving You Everything, paid for by Taking Away Stuff from the hated 1 percent, who sit in their gated castles casting spells to protect their gold.

Will the solons of the Right insist we vote for the Democrat lest the Trump presidency be renewed for another season and destroy the GOP? (Spoiler: It was already destroyed in Season One.) Perhaps this is just another iteration of the old lose-to-win theory: A Democratic Congress, Senate, and POTUS will do such damage that the nation will rear back with horror and return real conservatives to power.

Who will then do nothing about anything the Dems put in place.

That never made sense, but it’s extra crazy now. The reason many on the right didn’t vote for Trump was that they found him boorish, vain, and uninformed. They have not changed their opinion, but they haven’t been shoved to the left by his behavior, simply because he is behaving exactly as predicted. The president’s tweets are for them the equivalent of a phone call from a nattering old relative: Put the phone down and let the person blather away, periodically saying “Uh-huh” while you balance your checkbook.

Likewise, the constant shouts of “Hitler! Hitler! Here comes der Führer” fall like seed on stony ground, possibly because all Republican presidents are Hitler — the only difference between George Bush and Hitler was that the former took up painting after his life in politics — and possibly because half the stories are ginned up by the noise machine of the media.

Example: ABC News reports that the Trump administration is performing medical experiments on twins. The TV commentators bring up the death-camp parallels, and the Twitterfolk amplify the story, complete with weepy emojis and hashtags such as “#NoMengele.”

Then it turns out it was a voluntary Obama-era program that collected raw data from pediatricians. To paraphrase Twain, the lie has run twice around the world before Trump’s truth puts on its boots and puts one of them in its mouth by tweeting “Witch hunt!” for no reason at 2 a.m.

As the shampoo bottle says: Lather, wince, repeat. By 2020, the din from the disempowered Left will be utterly mad. If they can go from lying about being socialists to being proud of socialism in two years, another few years will have Nancy Pelosi wearing hammer-and-sickle earrings just to show she’s down with the cause.3

Unless Putin decides to bring back the Communist Party, just to troll the Left. Open for collusion, comrades! Tell us how we can help. It would flummox the Left, but only for a moment. “Hurrah!” they’d say, with relief. “They’re back!”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Wisconsin Spring

Charles J. Sykes reviews The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics, by Dan Kaufman.


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The Chinese cat that accurately predicted World Cup matches died suddenly. But are they sure it isn’t just flopping?

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