The message they send to Americans is clear: “Stay out of politics and leave the destruction of you and your country to us.”
One of the country’s most prominent conservative magazines has joined the chorus of criticism after Donald Trump suggested delaying the November elections.
The National Review is perhaps the single most prestigious conservative news outlet, founded by William F. Buckley, an icon of the modern American right.
NR’s editors took the President to task on Thursday for what they called his “grotesque and un-American” suggestion.
“President Trump outdid himself this morning with a tweet floating the idea of delaying the election,” the editors wrote.
“Obviously, this is an incendiary and absurd idea unworthy of being spoken — or even thought — by a president of the United States,” the article said.
“Top congressional Republicans poured scorn on the idea, and should continue to do so.”
The editors went on to explain that Trump doesn’t have the power to delay the election – as others have been at pains to point out elsewhere. But the conservative standard bearer went further, accusing Trump of willful ignorance about American elections.
“Trump doesn’t understand this, or doesn’t care,” the editors wrote.
“It is another indication of how little he’s let the institution of the presidency shape him, and how selfishly he approaches his duties.”
Though National Review came out firmly against Trump in 2016, since his election many of its writers have defended his actions and written positively about his policies.
It seems floating an election postponement was a bridge too far for the magazine’s top brass, however.
It has been four-hundred and eighteen days since Donald Trump has been sworn into office as President. Since that time, Americans have been treated to what is aptly described as a reality-show presidency with all of the trappings. Each day brings new revelations about Trump’s campaign and its possible and likely involvement with Russia in order to secure the highest office in the land. Each morning Americans are treated to a host of Tweets, now considered part of the Presidential record, sent out to whomever it is Trump is targeting on that particular day.
And, just like every other reality show, there exists a certain amount of ambiguity with each passing day with nearly fifty-four or more administration officials exiting out the newly erected metaphorical revolving door, installed since Trump became President. Americans do not know day to day who will or who will not go home, a hallmark of the shows; American Idol, Top Chef, The Voice, Project Runway, or even Trump’s prior show; Celebrity Apprentice.
While the reality show has become a staple of pop culture in our country, I highly doubt the Founders of our country intended our nation to be run in this dramatic fashion. And despite this; it is. The question is whether this is sustainable.
On March 6, 2018, White House Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn resigned from Trump’s administration in reaction to what many political analysts believed to be Cohn’s disagreement with Trump’s plan imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, an act which arguably serves as a catalyst for a potential trade war. Historically speaking, tariffs are not considered wise, nor do they lead to better relations with other global partners, and many speculated this was too much for the former Goldman Sachs President to accept; a bridge too far if you will.
But there were other reasons for Cohn’s departure, specifically, the manner in which Trump handled the tragic events which led to the killing of an innocent woman, Heather Heyer, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump vacillated in his position leading to his proclamation that there “were fine people” on both sides of the White Nationalist spawned event. According to the Financial Times, Cohn shared that he “faced enormous pressure to both remain and leave” the White House. Cohn further stated:
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”
Despite this harsh rebuke from what many analysts considered to be one of the few “adults in the room” in the Trump administration, the divisiveness continues, the adults continue leaving the administration, and the reality show continues.
It is against this backdrop then, that Trump’s apparent decision to fill Cohn’s vacancy with Larry Kudlow leaves the American people with not much hope in escaping this reality nightmare. For whatever misgivings Cohn brought to the table, he was the
adult in the room
Democrats, religious and non-religious, believe all have an equal voice but Republicans believe if you're not Christian, you get no voice
It is remarkable to watch conservatives scramble to defend Donald Trump from attacks by “leftists” basing their attacks on Trump’s own words. Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes that the National Review that “The attacks on Trump won’t even wait until he takes office” and that, of course, they are completely unjustified.
Hanson actually categorizes the attacks he sees coming:
- Of the personal sort, expect more “investigative” reporting and “speaking truth to power” op-eds about his tax returns, his supposed theft of the election, his purported instigation of turbulence and mayhem, his locker-room talks about women, his business conflicts of interests in office, Trump University, and so on.
- The nexus of attack will not be a dramatic scandalous revelation — it will be intended to induce bleeding from a thousand tiny nicks and cuts, all designed to reduce his moral authority and thus his ability to ratchet back the progressive decade.
- Another trope, as we are now witnessing, will be of the hysterical policy brand: Trump will cook the planet, put y’all back in chains, conduct war on women, traumatize students, destroy dreamers — all the boilerplate extremism designed to put Trump on the defensive so that he will settle for half an agenda and “reach out” to cement his respectability as a “listener” before the court of D.C. fixtures, the campuses, the foundations, the think tanks, the media, the social circles of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.
We could respond that conservatives are more than willing to throw completely fabricated scandals at Hillary Clinton, and have; we could even point out their response to the election of Barack Obama in 2008; or we could just point out some unwelcome facts to a historian who ought to know better:
- His tax returns are a problem; contrary to a practice dating back to the early ’70s, they were never released by the Republican nominee;
- His talk about women was not locker-room talk and that’s the problem;
- His business conflicts of interest are real and dangerous to national security (and let’s not forget Secretary of State frontrunner Rudy Giuliani’s business ties);
- Trump University was a fraud and a scam, as the National Review‘s own Ian Tuttle related in February;
The thought that Donald Trump has any moral authority to erode is amusing. This is a man who at the time of his election had 75 lawsuits hanging over his head; who brags about sexually assaulting women; and who lies at a rate that is nothing short of breathtaking.
He has no moral authority.
As for Trump cooking the planet, yes, the last 5 years are the hottest on record, 15 out of the last 16, and 2016 will be the new hottest year on record, and Donald Trump
says global warming is a hoax
It is troubling that Republicans insist on projecting: making their problems a liberal or progressive problem. Like being blamed for Trump when it is beyond question that they built that without any help from us. All Donald Trump did was make even deplorable an already crude message.
Yet Daniel Payne writes at National Review that it is progressives who have a “tendency to sentimentalize Republicans from years past.” As opposed to the conservative tendency to lift them to sainthood, like Ronald Reagan.
Payne tells us that Dana Milbank writing at The Washington Post in March that “Donald Trump makes me miss George W. Bush,” is an example of this progressive tendency to sentimentalize. But Milbank isn’t sentimentalizing; he is measuring a degree of awful. Bad as Bush was, Trump is worse.
By the same token, yes, at the time, Mitt Romney was the worst. And if we miss Romney now, it is only because Romney can’t hold a candle to Trump’s deplorable rhetoric. Payne is adept at making strawmen. He claims “this year” Romney is “up for sainthood in the Church of Progressivism,” but saying “a candidate bragging about” his imaginary “search for competent women” is preferable to a candidate who assaults them is not sentimentalizing.
It is a measure of how much worse the GOP’s rhetoric – and candidates – get every year. It is conservatives who use past Republicans as a yardstick, particularly now that they’ve gotten what they asked for in Trump. But there isn’t a lot to measure up to. Ronald Reagan was no prize, in many ways more like Joe McCarthy than the “Saint” Ronald they’ve conjured.
In fact, back at the start of the “Commie” scare of the late ’40s, Reagan testified as a “friendly” witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC),
“Sir, I detest, I abhor their [alleged Communists in the Screen Actors Guild] philosophy, but I detest more than that their tactics, which are those of the fifth column, and are dishonest, but at the same time I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment. I still think that democracy can do it.”
Reagan worried that “this group” would cause us to compromise with our democratic principles because of fear and resentment. We have a couple problems here for Republicans. Not only does Reagan seem to be condemning the Trump “movement” from the grave, given his place in Vladimir Putin’s pocket.
The future president also said,
“I would hesitate to see any political party outlawed on the basis of its political ideology…However, if it is proven that an organization is an agent of a foreign power, or in any way not a legitimate political party…then that is another matter.”
Talk about “legitimate” political parties was then, and is now, a slap at Democrats, who were considered then to be no different than communists and today no better than Islamic terrorists. The same can be said of the conservative attempt to delegitimize Islam as a religion, as though only Islam has a political component.
After all, the Religious Right made public their goal of taking over the Republican Party and have never failed to gloat at every success they’ve enjoyed. They love the idea of banning Muslims, just like the conservative base of the 50’s loved the idea of banning Communists.
The GOP has been working to delegitimize Democrats since the New Deal, and they’ve tried to delegitimize those Christians who didn’t go along with the Religious Right’s foray into politics.
As Dara Lind wrote at Vox recently,
“Then, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration caused “a bit of an uproar” (in Cox’s words) when Congress found out it had been denying visas to communists on the grounds that it would hurt US foreign policy. In 1990, Congress passed an immigration law that significantly narrowed the reasons the US could deny a visa on ideological grounds. Furthermore, it declared the US couldn’t use “foreign policy” as a reason to keep someone out simply based on his beliefs or associations.”
Just substitute “religious” for “ideological” and Donald Trump sounds more like Saint Ronald than Trump’s Republican detractors would care to admit. Ideological tests? Bring them on.
Believe me when I say this, that no Democratic sentimentalizes anything about the Republican Party since Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Conservatism’s skewed view of the past, exemplified here by Payne, unravels when taken out of its fantasy context: he says “liberals in 2012 claimed that Romney would be a ‘disaster’ for women,” and he would have been; but that was before we met Donald Trump as a candidate. Saying that one candidate is worse than another does not sentimentalize the other.
Payne protests that “President Barack Obama accused Romney of wanting to take the United States back to ‘policies more suited to the 1950s,’” but it was true then and it remains true now, notwithstanding Trump’s despicable misogyny.
Conservatism is and has always been about maintenance of the status quo, of the “good old days,” while for liberals and progressives it is about change for the better. Trump is feeding on the desire of the Republican base to turn the clock back to 1950s style white privilege. Nothing has changed, except by degree.
In fact, Payne sounds a lot like Trump when he projects reactionary conservative behavior onto liberals, claiming liberal political philosophy “exists less as a coherent and workable set of political and public-policy beliefs and more as a fanatical, oppositional vehicle for hysterics who shriek and faint whenever a new Republican walks onto the scene.”
If that doesn’t describe modern Republican politics to a tee, nothing does.
No, let’s be clear here: Democrats Don’t “sentimentalize Republicans from years past.” It’s just that bad as past Republicans were, Republicans of today are even worse.
"I distinctly remember the first time I saw a picture of my then-seven-year-old [African-American] daughter’s face in a gas chamber..."
On the contrary, we have seen religious laws against abortion, contraception, marriage equality, religious diversity, education, and even global warming
The most bizarre mystery of modern political history is why any American supports Donald Trump: what kind of idiots are those people?
This is an attempt to erase our history, we are told by a conservative on a show hosted by a guy who makes his living re-writing our history
An article comparing Bernie Sanders to Nazis marked a new low for conservative media.
During an appearance on ABC's This Week, National Review writer Rich Lowry tried to assert that "attempted forced kissing" by men on young women didn't count as sexual assault.
Kevin Williamson's article, titled 'Five Reasons Why You're Too Dumb To Vote,' claimed that the first reason someone would be too dumb to vote is if they got their voting advice from Lena Dunham.
Now that their Obamacare kills jobs lie was discredited by the CBO's report and again in testimony to Congress, Republicans in the House of Representatives are seeking another way to call "you people" lazy freeloaders.
Real journalists' assessment of criticism of the reporter on the ground proves that Fox News' hosts do not understand what real journalists do because they are not journalists; they are GOP hacks.
Jonas Goldberg claimed ObamaCare is the policy equivalent of the Iraq war, but worse because the Iraq war didn't affect our lives directly.
Mirroring their counterparts nationwide, conservatives on a post-election political cruise reveal they still don't understand their faults.
The hope for a post racial America has been crushed as racism is front and center in the recent news cycle.
One of the tell tale signs of how a Supreme Court nominee is going to fare is always the initial criticism of the opposition. So far the right wing has hit President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen with allegations that she a socialist (Glenn Beck), hates the military (Bill Kristol), and is a bad driver (National Review). I didn’t realizing that driving was a constitutional issue.
First, up we have Glenn Beck, who had to turn Kagan into a Red via Media Matters:
Beck pointed to Kagan’s Master’s thesis about Socialism in New York City 1900-1930 as evidence that she is a Socialist. Beck claimed that she endorsed Socialism in her thesis,”Then she issues a call to action. Her call for Socialists to unite in order to, “defeat the entrenched foe.” Later Beck concluded, “It is true that you don’t necessarily endorse this in your thesis, but how many times do we have to hear this from people. I mean Hillary Clinton wrote it on Saul Alinsky. I mean how many times do we have to hear this. Wouldn’t you love somebody who is really not interested who wrote their thesis on George Washington.”
Then we have Bill Kristol who has flip-flopped and now claims that Kagan has hositility towards the military, “For me, the key obstacle to Elena Kagan’s confirmation is pt. 5 in Ed Whelan’s NRO post, which is also the question raised by Peter Berkowitz in these pages several years ago and by Peter Beinart just recently: Her hostility to the U.S. military.”
This so called opposition is based on some of the discriminatory recruitment policies of the U.S. military, but Kristol labels any opposition to a military policy as hostility towards the military, “Many important people are complicit in what Kagan regards as the “moral injustice of the first order” of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The only ones Kagan sought to make pay a price were those serving the ranks of the military. So Kagan needs to be asked: Why doesn’t this reflect hostility to the military?”
Kristol seems to have forgotten that he endorsed Kagan as a Supreme Court nominee of the April 11, 2010 edition of Fox News Sunday:
The cherry on top of these attacks is the allegation in the National Review that Kagan is a bad driver. According to National Review’s Ed Whelan, “Kagan … is such a product of New York City that she did not learn to drive until her late 20s. According to her friend John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University, it is a skill she has not yet mastered.” Of course, the true implication that Whelan is making is Kagan is that Kagan is liberal New York City elitist, who is out of touch with “real America” because she didn’t learn to drive until she was in her late 20s.
This is the best criticism that the right has to offer? Beck throwing out the concept of academic research, so that he can label Kagan a Socialist, which by the way, no self respecting academic institution would ever allow a call to action in a Master’s thesis. Beck intentionally took her thesis out of its academic contest to boost his claims of socialism. However he is not as bad as Kristol who seems to be suffering from short term memory loss, because he doesn’t remember endorsing Kagan for the Supreme Court a month ago, but Kristol is not as bad as Whelan, who was reduced to spouting out stereotypes about women and city dwellers, to argue that she is not fit for the Supreme Court.
Kagan was in the running last time before Obama selected Sotomayor, so the right has had plenty of time to come up with a line of attack on Kagan, yet they have nothing. I suspect that most of the serious criticism of Kagan could come from the Left as Obama will be replacing a true liberal with someone who holds very conservative views on presidential power and terrorism. Liberals will be much less enthused with Kagan than moderates, and If confirmed she will move the court will move further right on some issues.