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Trump Fans, It’s Time for An Intervention
National Review ^ | July 11, 2015 | Jonah Goldberg's Weekly News Letter

Posted on 07/11/2015 1:59:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

There have been times in the past when I’ve gotten crosswise with certain segments of the conservative base and/or with the readership of National Review. And, because, like the Elephant Man, I am a not an animal but a human being, I have always had at least some self-doubt. That’s as it should be. People who share principles should not only hear each other out when they disagree; they should be able to see each other’s points and hold open the possibility that one’s opponents have the better argument.

This is not one of those times, at least not for me.

I truly, honestly, and with all my heart and mind think Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters are making a yuuuuuuge mistake. I think they are being conned and played. I feel like a guy whose brother is being taken advantage of by a grifter. I’m watching helplessly as the con artist congratulates him for taking out a third mortgage.

Anger Is Not an Argument

Now, before I go on, let me clarify a few things. I get it. The base of the party is angry. They’re angry about Obama’s lawless chicanery on immigration. They’re angry about the GOP’s patented inability to cross the street without stepping on its own d*ck and then having to apologize for it. They’re angry that the Left’s culture warriors are behaving like an invading army that shoots the survivors even after they’ve surrendered. They’re angry that Republicans have to bend over backward so as not to offend anyone, while Democrats have free rein (and at times free reign) to do and to say as they please.

Enter Trump, stage left. He makes no apologies. He’s brash. I can understand why some see him as a breath of fresh air. If you want to give him credit for starting a worthwhile debate about sanctuary cities and illegal immigration, fine. I think that argument is way overdone, but certainly reasonable enough.

Trump supporters need an intervention. I want to sit them down at the kitchen table, reach into a manila envelope, and pull out the proof that he’s a fraud.

Maybe you just like him. On that, we can respectfully disagree, as there is no accounting for taste. Perhaps you just like his musk and the way it assaults your nostrils, which is fitting, given his line of cologne. Fine.

I, on the other hand, find him tedious, tacky, and trite. He’s a bore who overcompensates for his insecurities by talking about how awesome he is, often in the third person. Jonah can’t stand that.

You see the next Teddy Roosevelt and all I see is someone who talks big and carries a small schtick.

’Sup Britches?

In words George Will shall never write, this is a good moment to talk about my pants. Earlier this week, Donald Trump attacked Charles Krauthammer and me. By the way, I don’t blame Trump one bit for his hostility. I’d hate me too, if I were him. Still I do marvel at how this supposed Master of the Universe can be unnerved by such criticism. If it takes so little effort for me to set up shop in his head, by all means, let’s give him thermonuclear weapons.

Anyway, when asked about me, he said:

I’m worth a fortune. . . . I went out, I made a fortune, a big fortune, a tremendous fortune . . . bigger than people even understand. . . . Then I get called [a failure] by a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?

As the intern said to Bill Clinton, this puts me in a weird position. I don’t like to brag, but I’m actually quite adept at buying pants. I don’t enjoy it. But I can do it. It never occurred to me to put it in my bio or anything — “Jonah Goldberg is a senior editor of National Review, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a successful pants-buyer” — but maybe I should.

Now, I will say that I sometimes choose not to wear pants, and not just because I’m so fond of my spaghetti-strainer codpiece (which affords me the satisfaction of telling really attractive women, “Hey, my eyes are up here. Thank you very much”). But these are my choices. If I want to identify as a pantless American, who are you to say otherwise?

More to the point, what I find so gaudy about Trump is his constant reference to the fact that he made a lot of money, and his expectation that it somehow makes him immune to criticism or means that he’s a better person than his GOP competitors, never mind yours truly.

The Trump-Pets Blare

Moreover, I find it horribly disappointing that his fans like this about him. If you met someone in real life who talked this way, you would think he’s a jerk. But somehow he’s awesome when he does it on TV?

The most troubling defense is this claptrap that he ‘tells it like it is.’ Well, first of all, no he doesn’t. He tells it the way you want to hear it, which is an entirely different thing.

His biggest fans disappoint in other ways as well. I marvel at how they can simultaneously despise Obama’s arrogance but revel in Trump’s. (I chuckle at all of the people who tell me he’s a heroic truth-teller for “telling it like it is” and “calling it as he sees it” but who at the same time fume at me when I tell it like it is about Trump and call it as I see it.)

But most grating of all are the people who sincerely think he should be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

On this, I’m afraid we’re going to have to disrespectfully disagree. First of all, he’ll never be president of the United States. I won’t go into all of the reasons I think this, but a few off the top of my head: his enormous negatives, even among Republicans; the Midas’s hoard of oppo-research material that surely lurks beneath the surface; and his comments about women, which alone would turn the gender gap into a chasm. To borrow a line from Mark Steyn, a President Trump would have more ex-wives than the previous 44 presidents combined.

But my objection isn’t to the political analysis of Trump supporters. It’s their judgment of the man that stews the bowels.

The Purest RINO

​Which gets me back to the grifter thing.

I’ve written many times about how I hate the term RINO because conservatives should consider themselves Republicans in Name Only. The Republican Party is a vessel, a tool for achieving conservative ends. It’s nothing more than a team. Conservatism is different. It’s a body of ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. The amazing thing is that Trump is both a RINO and a CINO. I’m sure he has some authentic and sincere conservative views down in there somewhere. But the idea that he’s more plausibly conservative — or more loyally Republican — than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, or any of the others is just flatly absurd. It is vastly more plausible that he is a stalking horse for his dear friend Hillary Clinton than he is a sincere conservative.

Trump supporters need an intervention. I want to sit them down at the kitchen table, reach into a manila envelope, and pull out the proof that he’s a fraud. The conversation would go something like this:

Immigration: You seem to think he’s an immigration hardliner, and he’s certainly pretending to be. But why can’t you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill O’Reilly he was in favor of a “path to citizenship” for 30 million illegal immigrants:

Trump: You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that.

Question: Just how many rapists and drug dealers did Donald Trump want to give green cards to?

Abortion: In 1999 he said, “I’m totally pro-choice. I hate it and I hate saying it. And I’m almost ashamed to say that I’m pro-choice but I am pro-choice because I think we have no choice.”

Man, it’s like he’s channeling Thomas Aquinas there.

Now he says he’s pro-life. But I’ll spare the mocking on this because at least he’s flip-flopping in the right direction, and I don’t like to second guess peoples’ professed religious convictions.

Obamacare: The man wrote in his own book and said elsewhere that he was in favor of Canadian-style socialized medicine — which would put him to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and on pretty much the same page as Bernie Sanders.

Hillary: Speaking of her, Trump praised Hillary Clinton and her health-care reform plan — in 2007! She attended his (most recent) wedding. He donated to her campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, he couldn’t get his head around the fact that Obama didn’t pick her for VP. “I’m a big fan of Hillary. She’s a terrific woman. She’s a friend of mine.”

Economics: People tout the guy’s business record. But he represents almost exactly what his supporters think he opposes. He’s a crony capitalist par excellence. He gives to whatever politician can grease the skids for his next deal — and he makes no apologies for it. He’s an eminent-domain voluptuary. He abuses bankruptcy laws like a stack of homemade get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Parlez vous Conservative?

The most troubling defense is this claptrap that he “tells it like it is.” Well, first of all, no he doesn’t. He tells it the way you want to hear it, which is an entirely different thing. He is like William Jennings Bryan, only his cross of gold has an all-you-can-eat buffet under it, and looks remarkably like a capital “T.”

He is like William Jennings Bryan, only his cross of gold has an all-you-can-eat buffet under it, and looks remarkably like a capital “T.”

“The people of Nebraska are for free silver, and I am for free silver,” Bryan announced. “I will look up the arguments later.” That is Trump’s approach. He’s saying what understandably angry people want to hear him say.

He reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney, at least in one respect. I always said that Romney “spoke conservatism as a second language” (a line some people ripped off, btw). That’s why Romney called himself a “severe conservative,” talked about how he “likes to fire people,” and anathematized the “47 percent.”

Trump is even less truly conservative, but he’s trying to speak in an even grubbier dialect of conservatism. And, having grown up in the tabloid politics of New York, he’s better at faking it.

Eventually, I suspect, this will be the cause of his undoing. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know about conservatism, and at some point he will say something that even his biggest fans will recognize as a damning revelation about the real man beneath the schtick. The only question is whether he implodes before or after he does permanent damage to the GOP’s chances in 2016.

The Conservative Heart

Look, these are rough times for conservatives, for reasons too lengthy, and all too familiar, to go into here. But none of our problems — demographic, political, cultural — can be solved unless conservatives take the cause of persuasion to heart. All of our problems can be fixed by convincing people to join our cause. That is what politics is about — persuading people that their interests and concerns are better addressed by coming to our side. And, given the degraded nature of our culture, I won’t deny that having a celebrity on our side has its utility. But it’s only helpful if that celebrity convinces people to switch sides. As a purely mathematical proposition, it is insane to believe that Donald Trump will convert more voters than he will repel.

For those who are interested in persuasion, I heartily recommend Arthur Brooks’s new book, The Conservative Heart (full disclosure: He’s my boss at AEI and a friend). I’ll be writing more about it in the future because I think it’s an important book. But I will say for now that it is almost a mirror image of Trump’s approach. It’s thoughtful, humble, fact- and data-driven, and informed by a deep moral case for conservatism. It won’t satisfy your desire to scream at the opposition, but it will equip you to explain to the opposition why they are wrong............

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gopprimary; trump
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Because that is the first step of any con artist, he wins your trust by telling you what you already know to be true.

But what does it matter??? By following Trump will he persuade me to keep from voting for Bush??? Ain't voting for Bush anyway...

Your theory makes no sense at all...While Trump is drawing conservatives to the ideas that Washington is screwed up and there is hope for the old America, Trump is drawing Democrats and Independents as well...

If Trump drops out, so what??? Either someone else will pick up his mantle or we are right back where we started from...And that is the two headed political party we are now stuck with...

221 posted on 07/11/2015 7:38:57 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: TTFlyer

“Okay, let’s stipulate that Trump is a swaggering buffoon and all his supporters fools”

I think a better case could be made that anyone who votes for a pression politician is a fool. We have be lied to over and over again by these professional ‘conservatives’ all the while the country is swirling down the toilet bowl.

222 posted on 07/11/2015 7:41:55 AM PDT by tatown
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To: 4Liberty

Thank you for posting this. I can’t wait to watch this at my leisure. He would do well to erect a board filled with photos of Americans murdered by illegals. Imagine the effect.

223 posted on 07/11/2015 7:44:16 AM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard the Third: "I should like to drive away not only the Turks (moslims) but all my foes.")
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To: LS

>> [Trump] is a business-oriented problem solver <<

Yeah, but it seems to me that crony capitalism is his favored means of using “business” to solve problems. Maybe that’s OK if you think the end usually justifies the means, but mark me as one who would demur.

224 posted on 07/11/2015 7:44:21 AM PDT by Hawthorn
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To: trisham

Yes, one can support Trump for speaking the truth and still support Cruz. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, Trish.

225 posted on 07/11/2015 7:45:54 AM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard the Third: "I should like to drive away not only the Turks (moslims) but all my foes.")
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And sadly many are buying into this notion that in 2009 he magically turned conservative?

Or maybe, like most Americans, he did not realize how huge the illegal alien problem had become until some time in the 2000's, and particularly when W made his huge pushes for illegal alien amnesty in 2006 and again in 2007.

The cumulative effect of years of non-enforcement of immigration law and of stupid trade deals began to really become apparent during the past ten to twenty years. US citizens have been gradually waking up to those realities

At least Trump is one high profile figure who will point out what's happened and say it needs to change.

226 posted on 07/11/2015 7:46:04 AM PDT by Will88
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To: miss marmelstein

Thank you, miss marmelstein.

227 posted on 07/11/2015 7:47:30 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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As have every single DC politician from the so called GOP! They play for the same team. They are all beholden to the same masters while ‘we the people’ get trampled on.

Trump is saying what ‘we the people’ believe and other than Cruz, none of the DC class has stepped up to agree with him. Instead both parties (actually the uniparty) attack him! That should cause you more concern than the fact that Trump, the businessman, donated to candidates from both parties.

228 posted on 07/11/2015 7:48:11 AM PDT by tatown
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Maybe a successful business man didn’t become that way with a tin ear.

229 posted on 07/11/2015 7:49:16 AM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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Because that is the first step of any con artist, he wins your trust by telling you what you already know to be true.

Lol, you can't be serious. You're almost a decade behind. People have been fighting this amnesty BS since W tried in 2006 and 2007 to ram it down then nation's throat.

Trump is the first presidential candidate to say loudly and clearly that what we already know needs to be changed through government policy, that it was government policy and neglect that caused the problem, and that government should fix it.

230 posted on 07/11/2015 7:52:08 AM PDT by Will88
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>> It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to falsely adopt the rhetoric <<

Agreed. Nothing like a “severe conservative” — which Trump obviously has become.

231 posted on 07/11/2015 7:54:07 AM PDT by Hawthorn
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To: dragnet2
"Trump Fans?

Fan is short for fanatic."


232 posted on 07/11/2015 7:54:09 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (("This is a Laztatorship. You don't like it, get a day's rations and get out of this office."))
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To: Iscool
because there are a lot of DEMOCRATS and Independents also fed up with what this country has become due to Open Borders.

What you said...And that's why Trump has become so popular politically...

And that is the only way to win this election.

Now this is just a personal observation, but Trump is a proud American who doesn't like what is happening to this country. He doesn't want to radically change what we HAD, but change what we HAVE.

He touched on Common Core, which, of course, is a grown up NCLB, hated by parents and educators alike.

He touched on treaties - Iran.

He endorsed Bibi.

And, for those who care, he employed thousands and his employees liked him and the way he treated them.

233 posted on 07/11/2015 7:55:51 AM PDT by Abby4116
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

RINOcide bump for later...

234 posted on 07/11/2015 7:56:19 AM PDT by indthkr
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To: Cowboy Bob

Well, that is your right as an American, and so be it. Trump is the ONLY one speaking the truth. I don’t need a hammer to get my thinking right. There isn’t anyone on the conservative side running that isn’t right and speaking the truth, but Trump is saying it better with the facts. I like that, and I certainly would vote for anyone who upholds American freedom and is willing to put it all on the line to maintain it. God Bless America and Americans!! Go Donald Trump!

235 posted on 07/11/2015 7:59:47 AM PDT by cousair
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To: nonliberal

That is a tough call. It would be a repeat of 1992...and I fear with the same results - a Democrat victory.

When Perot announced in 1992, I began to support him, as GHWB has sold out Reagan. Perot came across as much more of a conservative than Bush.

But then Perot began to flake out. I remember that he quit the race after he claimed to have had saved the Democrat party from extinction (his work was finished...) But then he later changed his mind and re-entered the race. He now had a vendetta against Bush because Bush had tried to ruin the wedding day of Perot’s daughter...

I hope that trump doesn’t turn out to be the flake that Perot was. I hope Trump stays into the race till the end - win or lose. And if he doesn’t get the nomination, I hope that he supports the candidate who does.

With Trump in the race, he may not win, but I’m pretty sure he can prevent JEB from betting the nomination.

236 posted on 07/11/2015 8:02:23 AM PDT by Cowboy Bob (Isn't it funny that Socialists never want to share their own money?)
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To: dragnet2

The Establsihment is pulling out all their resources over getting rid of Trump.

hey JonahE! We conservatives don’t go in for mass appeals like this. Those “hey! everybody who’s cool loves...” or “hey everybody who’s cool hates...” are the kind of games you play on liberals.

237 posted on 07/11/2015 8:07:47 AM PDT by uncitizen (PC is lying, any way you look at it)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

It’s amusing to hear the shills for the GOP establishment whine about how Donald Trump is destroying their party. But seriously, while Trump is waltzing merrily through the wreckage of the formerly grand old party, he didn’t create that wreckage. At most he’s bouncing some of the rubble. Make no mistake, the actual destruction was wrought by the unprincipled hacks who are now doing the loudest whining.

238 posted on 07/11/2015 8:11:57 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (Polling: The dark art of .turning a liberal agenda into political reality.)
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To: Ray76

The Republican party stopped promoting conservatism a long time ago. It is now a party which promotes the worst of corporatism forgetting entirely the conservative understanding of the middle class as backbone of society. Trump may not wish to tell it as it is Mr. Lowery, but as one living in the belly of the beast, he is I know he is telling it like it is and Americans need to hear it.

239 posted on 07/11/2015 8:12:43 AM PDT by amihow
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To: Ray76
I will put it this way.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing would ever make me vote for Jeb Bush.

I will take the gamble and vote for The Donald. Not that I think the establishment will ever let it get to that.

240 posted on 07/11/2015 8:16:53 AM PDT by riri (Obama's Amerika--Not a fun place.)
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