Hey, hey, LBJ: how many kids did you kill today?
Thus went the chant of the 60’s radicals. We’re supposed to call them “anti-war protestors”, but if they were anti-war, they would have been just as opposed to the war being waged by the government of North Vietnam as they were displeased with the American effort. Of course, they had nothing bad to say about North Vietnam’s war. This is because it wasn’t about being against the war (or war, in general) but about being against the United States and its South Vietnamese allies winning the war. And, so, led by hard left radicals, the protestors set about saying the most outrageous, slanderous and cruel things they could about American leaders. I bring this up because there’s a direct line from that chant to the slogans being used today by protest groups led by hard left radicals.
Whatever one wishes to say about President Johnson and the Vietnam War (and I’ve got plenty of negative things to say on both subjects), the bottom line is that Johnson was the leader of the good guys during the war (as was Nixon, after him). This is not to say that Johnson didn’t do wrong: he did plenty wrong. But he wasn’t the bloodthirsty, hate-filled monster the protestors made him out to be. And while those protestors were chanting their slanderous cruelty, it was taken as a given that no one was supposed to say the same things back at them. People back then who pointed out that the protestors were mere stooges of Communist aggression and were working for the eventual murder and enslavement of millions were considered the kooks. People outside the pale of decent society. The only people allowed to be nasty were those of the left – and then it was a requirement that everyone else treat them as if they were reasonable, responsible members of society.
Post-Johnson, the Democrats learned their lesson: make sure the hard left never has bad things to say about you. Do that, and you can do whatever you want and the only slanders will be launched against Republicans. Democrats could have done the honorable thing and continued to fight the hard left, but it was much easier to co-opt the hard left (money talks, folks – and he who can dispense bags of government cash to Progressive groups will find they have a life-long friend). Much easier and it provided a convenient attack dog – any time a Republican got out of line, out came the Progressive protestors to slander said Republican. And, over time, the hard left Progressives managed to gain full control of the Democrats…and, now, it became the rule that Democrats could act like hard left people (ie, say nasty things which were untrue about their opponents) and be immune from like criticism.
Back in October I wrote and article called You Can’t Say That About Democrats. I was a bit astonished – it was after Trump had rudely got into Hillary’s face during the debate and just hammered her relentlessly. The pundit class were sure that his performance had done him in. We know, now, that it didn’t. But at the time, I wasn’t at all sure that Trump had done himself a favor with that because I, too, was of the unconscious opinion that no matter how outrageous Democrats and the overall left behaved, we weren’t allowed to be like them. They could call us racists, sexists, homophobes, Nazis, fascists; they could riot; burn; loot; threaten violence…they could do whatever they wanted and we could never do a darned thing about it.
But, as it turns out, we can – or, at least, Trump could. Throwing away the Cracker Jack Book of GOP Politics (which has the GOP ritually committing political suicide every election – though some times winning in spite of themselves because Democrats are just really, really dumb when you get down to it), Trump just went at it…and as someone who grew up and thrived in the rude, vulgar and rather cut-throat world of real estate development, he simply did what came natural to him: punched back whenever he was hit. And punched back very, very hard.
And this is something, especially, that Never Trump didn’t get then, and don’t get now. With the recent fracas over Trump’s tapping accusations, we see it writ large. We’re not supposed to say things like that! In spite of the fact that President Obama proved himself both a bald-faced liar (“you can keep your plan”) and someone willing to allow government power to be used against his opponents (IRS scandal), we were still not supposed to mention it – not in any serious way which would cause him any grief. That is just unkind, you see? Its the sort of thing, if said at the swell parties, which would result in a frosty silence and no more invitations to the swell parties. Trump just went ahead and said it. And you darn well know he’s right! Given what we know of Obama and his team it would have been astonishing if the power of government wasn’t use against Trump. And I think they felt they need to, as well.
I don’t buy the claim that Hillary, et al was shocked on election night. She wouldn’t have gone to Michigan and Pennsylvania if she was supremely confident until, say, 9 pm Eastern (as the story goes) that her election was in the bag. I personally think that by late October there was enough evidence of a seismic shift in the race to scare the bejabbers out of Team Hillary and the Democrats – and, so, the last minute efforts in the “Blue Wall”…and, likely, last minute attempts to find something, anything, on Trump that might shift it back towards Hillary. That is where the attempted effort to tap Trump’s communications came from. Nothing, it would seem, was found (or we would have seen it, by now), but there was still enough there for a campaign of innuendo to be used…and that started towards the end of Obama’s Administration when orders were given to spread the collected data far and wide with the certainty that plenty of people would leak the results to the MSM.
But all that is coming out of it is slander, at the end of the day. Trump is not a Russian stooge (his foreign policy actions demonstrate this conclusively); Trump’s team is not at the beck and call of corrupt Russian business interests. There simply was no Russian hacking of the election, nor any Russian shifting of the election results. But for weeks now we’ve had this lie spread daily by the MSM and the Democrats…along with the accusations that Trump is a racist, sexist Nazi out to destroy all that is good and decent in the world. And for people like the Never Trumpers, the rule still is that we can’t say anything bad about Democrats. But, as Trump went, screw that. Of course we can – because they are being very bad people right now.
Plenty of very strong arguments can be made that Trump shouldn’t have been the GOP nominee. I’ve heard them – I made some of them. But once Trump became the nominee, it became an imperative to ensure his election. Obama had just spent 8 years corrupting American politics. Slush fund payoffs to favored groups; crony-Capitalism to donors; abuse of Presidential authority; refusal to enforce the laws fairly; the relentless use of dishonesty to advance Obama’s political goals…all of this ground up and gravely coarsened American political life. Hillary would have continued this for another 4 to 8 years, to the massive detriment of the United States. In fact, if we had wound up with 16 years of what Obama gave, we might have found our nation fatally wounded. To be sure, no one could tell what Trump would actually do – he made a lot of promises, but we all know about politicians and their promises. But, still, given what we knew about Obama and Hillary, we simply had to take a chance on Trump. For all the talk (very prevalent in Never Trump circles) that Trump represents a moral decline for the United States, the actuality is that he represents a moral step up from Obama and Hillary.
I get it that Trump hasn’t lived a life of Christian virtue. I get it that his new-found respect for religion may not be genuine (though, ever trying to live a life of Christian hope, I’m proceeding on the assumption that it is genuine). I get it that, personally, he can be quite vulgar. But has he ever had someone arrested for making a video because having that person arrested advances a political lie launched to cover up a massive policy error? No. Trump’s personal moral failings are one thing – but they pale in comparison to the betrayal of public trust represented by both Obama and Hillary. A politician who breaks the public trust while holding political power has put the lives, fortunes and sacred honor of every American at risk. Trump, only in office for a few weeks, simply hasn’t had the time to do the wrong that Obama and Hillary have done – and Hillary certainly would have continued to do, had she won. Trump may never betray the public trust as Obama and Hillary have.
Seeing as Obama and Hillary were just awful and that their supporters are continuing to act in a terrible manner, I see nothing amiss in Trump punching back. Why shouldn’t he? The only reason is the old rule that we can’t say that about Democrats. But that rule was written by Democrats to protect themselves from their actions as Democrats. Heck with that. I don’t see why we have to play nice while they play dirty. Sure, I’d like a political life where everyone treats the other fairly and we debate only solid aspects of policy. But that is not the world we live in. We don’t live in it because Democrats can’t live in it. A real debate about any issue will cut against what Democrats want – if not in total, then in enough to undercut the ability of Democrat to retain and exercise power.
As for Never Trumpers, I’d like to point out that if you got your way and forced Trump out of office then what we’ll get in replacement is a Democrat who will do precisely what Democrats do – lie, bribe, grift, use the power of government against opponents, enact ever more repressive laws against anyone who doesn’t toe the Progressive line. Trump may fail – only time will tell on that; but to help him fail is merely to help the Democrats. We must help Trump succeed – and that means meeting him honestly and fairly. When he does well, congratulate him. When he does poorly, offer fair criticism and suggest alternatives. When Democrats attack, fight back. That last bit is very important. It was disgusting the way some Republicans were quick to jump on the anti-Trump train as soon as the Russian story broke. What purpose was there in seconding Democrat complaints save to help Democrats back into power, where they can go about making life miserable for us? Why do something like that? I honestly don’t understand it.
I don’t understand it because there is no Democrat result which can be worse than any Trump result. No matter how bad you wish to think Trump is, the Democrats are worse – worse for us, worse for the nation as a whole. Until they are really and thoroughly defeated and go through their own wilderness time and rebuild themselves into a fair and honest political player, our only rational act is to do what we can to keep them out of power. This doesn’t mean become a Trump cheerleader, but for goodness sake, don’t jump in with them against Trump. There’s no upside to that. They are just trying to claw their way back into power so they can get back to bribing themselves and screwing us over.
It is time – past time, really – for everyone to make their choice. What do you want? Do you want the United States to do well, or do you want to tear down Trump because that makes you feel better? Remember, tearing down Trump – while making you feel better – will result in Democrats back in power. I fully expect that some of the stalwart Never Trumpers of today will find themselves, by 2020, full-fledged Progressive Democrats…arguing that a vote for Warren/Booker is a vote for decency. But for most Never Trumpers, I’m hoping that there is a turn to the better hope – a hope that Trump can do well; that we can help him do well. And by doing well, making our nation a better place to live. Let the Democrats do what they do. Don’t help them. Even if you don’t want to fight for Trump, don’t fight for them. Fight for America – and right now, the only way to do that is to somehow or another help Trump do what is right for America.