Re-asking a question I’ve been posing for three years: Please come up with a definition of good character that Donald Trump can clear.
To which Horowitz eventually replied:
He has an amazing family. He’s loyal to a fault. He loves the country that gave him a privileged life, He works around the clock for ordinary Americans, & their security. He would never appoint a treacherous individual to head the CIA. Wake up Jonah.Its a war & u cant be neutral.
Which, in turn, generated this reply from Goldberg:
This is total nonsense David. He’s not loyal to a fault. He’s not loyal to his wives. Read up on how he treated Roy Cohn ffs. He doesn’t work around the clock. He won’t read and won’t stop watching TV. I can’t tell if your head is up your ass or his.
Which is usually how it goes – Never Trump makes a blanket statement. Trump supporter offers a polite response which calls into question the Never Trump statement. Never Trump then gets really pissy and vulgar. I did a response, myself, fairly much in tune with Horowitz’ but I didn’t get a response. Not important enough – usually, the Never Trump in question just blocks me (I’m blocked by an awful lot of them…and others that have muted me).
You should read Horowitz’ whole article on it, but here’s the meat as far as I’m concerned:
The posture of these NeverTrumpers is transparently self-serving. It preserves their intellectual credentials as “conservatives,” and simultaneously takes them out of the line of fire from an increasingly vicious Left whose goal is to destroy Trump and his presidency, and—incidentally—conservative America. Sitting on the fence affords them new career opportunities—appearances on CNN and MSNBC and columns in the New York Times. All that’s required is that they avoid taking sides in the political war that is engulfing the country. All this reminds me of a memorable Trotsky sneer about liberals, whom he accused of being reluctant to step into the stream of political conflict because they were afraid to get their moral principles wet.
The main thing, in my view, about people like Goldberg and the rest of the Never Trumpers is that they refused their office. The Never Trumpers were provided position, wealth, and a megaphone in order to fight for us – because we, the regular folks, don’t have the time for it. We’re of the right – we have jobs and families to attend to. And not just jobs, but jobs where concrete results are demanded. The left has its legions of layabouts who have all the time and money in the world to engage in politics. We on the right don’t have that – and thus was set up things like NRO…and the whole host of publications and think tanks which were supposed to pitch into the battle with gusto, never giving the left a break and just hammering them relentlessly until the left was no more.
Trouble is, after five decades of doing this, we didn’t find ourselves on the verge of repealing Social Security, but on the verge of enacting Socialized medicine. The Conservative movement failed. Failed utterly. It was beaten at the game of politics thoroughly. It had become a sad and, at times, sick joke – we all just waited for the Conservative Movement surrender each time the left came up with a new demand. There are only two explanations for it:
Either they were afraid to fight the left, or they actually wanted the left to win – in either case, they were running a con. Just hoping they could be top of the Conservative heap and have honors and rewards without ever having to accomplish anything. And they dare to say Trump is a man of no character? People who lost every damned battle for 50 years have the gall to shoot arrows at someone else? How about at least a bit of humility, guys? Any chance of that, Jonah? Any even mild acknowledgement that you failed us? Nope. None of that. Just insults hurled at the one guy who is actually winning. And, guys, winning it pretty easy…showing the the left is a paper tiger. It could have been smashed, easily, time and again for the past 50 years. It just wasn’t. Which is why I go more towards “treason”…the understanding that these guys really didn’t want Conservatism…just some lower taxes and maybe a more muscular military than the left, as a whole, did. I think that Trump’s success, far more than any character flaw, is really what is getting their goat…he’s done more for Conservatism in 18 months than they did in 50 years…heck, he’s on pace to surpass even Reagan in Conservatism. This vulgar, New York real estate mogul is besting them…and, grrrr, he also slept with a Playmate, the bastard!
My Dad explained to me when I was young that being honorable is only partially a matter of good morals and manners. He explained to me that my grandfather knew some bad men in his time – real criminals. But crooks you could trust. That might seem a paradox, but such is human life. My grandfather could make (completely legal, it should be stressed) business deals with the crooks on a handshake and everyone kept their end of the bargain. The bad guys might have been running illegal gambling operations, but if they said they’d do X for you in return for Y, X would be done. The key, my Dad explained, was keeping your word. We’re all weak and prone to sin – we’ll also do a lot of things we’ll regret at a later date. It is, in a very real sense, something we can’t help…we’re human and prone to sin. But to break one’s word requires a special act of will. If I say I’ll do something for you…then I’m either going to do it, or I’m not. Unless I am dead, then I have to either perform, or prove myself faithless. I have to keep my word – because it is, in the end, all I’ve got. If you don’t trust me to keep my word, then what use am I to you?
The Conservative movement didn’t keep it’s word to us – they promised us an end to the New Deal and the Great Society in return for our loyalty. They delivered us “bake the cake” and an inch away from single payer healthcare. What good are they to us, now? Why should we trust them in the future? Meanwhile, Trump is keeping his word. He might be a vulgar lout. He might be everything bad they say about him…but, so far, he’s proven trustworthy…and that’s not only a definition of good character Trump clears, it is really the most important definition of character there is.