Patterico's Pontifications

12/30/2017

Bret Stephens: Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:00 am

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens is the quintessential “conservative” columnist at a big-city newspaper. He has suggested that the Second Amendment should be repealed, has said he can never vote for a Republican again after the Roy Moore debacle, and openly wishes that Hillary Clinton were in the White House. In other words, like Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post, he is in many ways a CINO: Conservative in Name Only.

I understand how the Internet works: this means that 95% of people will automatically discount anything the man has to say. But for the 5% of you that remain, put aside your disdain for the man himself and consider some of his points in this column, even as we Trump critics consider some of the points that Trump supporters would make in response.

Stephens opens with a nice summary of some of the successes of the Trump White House:

Tax cuts. Deregulation. More for the military; less for the United Nations. The Islamic State crushed in its heartland. Assad hit with cruise missiles. Troops to Afghanistan. Arms for Ukraine. A tougher approach to North Korea. Jerusalem recognized as Israel’s capital. The Iran deal Moonwalks for sale decertified. Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned. Yes to Keystone. No to Paris. Wall Street roaring and consumer confidence high.

And, of course, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. What, for a conservative, is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?

It’s a good question. You might not agree that every accomplishment on this list is a good thing (I don’t), but most conservatives will see the list as quite good on the whole (I do). Some of us are disappointed by what we consider to be more significant and fundamental failures, such as the inability to repeal ObamaCare, or the utter lack of interest in controlling spending. But these shortcomings can hardly be blamed exclusively on Trump; they result primarily from the failures of Congress, the electorate, and ultimately our very system of government itself. Given these constraints, Trump has certainly done much to make conservatives happy — more than many of us expected.

So what’s the problem? Stephens says that it begins with the importance of our culture:

Can I still call myself conservative?

The answer depends on your definition. Here’s one I’ve always liked: “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. To which he added: “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

More specifically, Stephens worries about the effect that an immoral president has on our culture:

This is the fatal mistake of conservatives who’ve decided the best way to deal with Trump’s personality — the lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness — is to pretend it doesn’t matter. “Character Doesn’t Count” has become a de facto G.O.P. motto. “Virtue Doesn’t Matter” might be another.

But character does count, and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.

. . . .

Conservatives may suppose that they can pocket policy gains from a Trump administration while the stain of his person will eventually wash away. But as a (pro-Trump) friend wrote me the other day, “presidents empower cultures.” Trump is empowering a conservative political culture that celebrates everything that patriotic Americans should fear: the cult of strength, open disdain for truthfulness, violent contempt for the Fourth Estate, hostility toward high culture and other types of “elitism,” a penchant for conspiracy theories and, most dangerously, white-identity politics.

Has Trump hurt the culture? I don’t agree with Stephens in every respect, but I think he has a point here. You don’t have to agree with Stephens in every respect. You don’t have to agree with his argument that the policy advances listed above are outweighed by Trump’s character flaws. But surely that there is something to the concern about Trump’s character.

Online, I often see this impatiently brushed aside, as people tell me angrily to “get over it” and completely ignore Trump’s character and what Trump has to say. Concentrate only on his accomplishments! I am told. (By the way: the same people who say that the words of the President of the United States are unimportant get very upset at my words. It’s almost as if a double standard is being applied!)

As I get older, phrases like “I don’t know” and “I could be wrong” seem more important. When I review the list of Trump accomplishments in one year, I’m disappointed that we still have ObamaCare and a huge debt with no prospect of relief in sight. But I don’t know that Hillary Clinton would have been better, and the list Stephens cites strongly suggests she would not have been. And while I worry about the effect that Trump’s character will have on our culture, the fact remains: I could be wrong about that. Maybe we will bounce back the second he is out of office, and there will be no lasting dent in our culture.

I’d like to gently suggest to Trump supporters that the opposite just might be true. Do you know what damage is caused to the culture by having a serial liar and bully in the White House? Have you seen a normalization of mindless alpha-male silliness since Trump became a candidate? Are you sure that the damage to the Republican party and the country generally is worth the tradeoff for the above-named policy gains?

Could you be wrong?

Part of what irritates Trump supporters about NeverTrumpers, I think, is the seeming self-righteousness about their position. “We are the only ones who care about principles” is the message Trump supporters hear, whether NeverTrumpers mean to convey that or not. I have never used the term “Never Trump” to describe myself, but as someone who is a frequent critic of our president, I try harder each day avoid adopting a self-righteous attitude. I don’t always succeed. But I’m trying.

I’ll point out that 1) taking a modest stance doesn’t garner attaboys or clicks, and 2) not all Trump supporters are real big on modesty or avoiding self-righteousness. There is a cottage industry of columnists who like to beat their chests with mocking references to the “irrelevance” of the NeverTrumpers. These columns do very well. If you love those columns, you might not like my position or this post. I understand that. You can’t please everybody.

But I ask the more thoughtful among you to reflect on what Stephens has to say here. To consider whether you know that having Donald Trump in the Oval Office is a bet positive in the long run. To consider that you might be wrong.

As I continue to watch Trump’s performance in the next three (seven?) years, I’ll try to do the same. I’m very pleased with a lot of what has been accomplished. I don’t know that his presidency will be a net negative. It feels to me like he has done a lot of damage to our culture.

But I could be wrong.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

133 Responses to “Bret Stephens: Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper”

  1. what vapid and elitist trash like Stephens don’t understand about our culture is that normal people get to vote too, and the concerns of normal people sometimes extend beyond aesthetic issues about “personality”

    it shouldn’t be this way

    harvardtrash values *should* be universally accepted

    but they’re not :(

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. It would be better if people like Stephens could show equal outrage contemporaneously expressed about Bill Clinton, Gerry Studds, Ted Kennedy, and various others.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  3. You might not agree that every accomplishment on this list is a good thing (I don’t)

    curious which accomplishment in that list you think is a bad thing

    if i had to pick one I’d say I’m definitely uneasy giving more money to our sleazy incompetent corrupt tranny-infested military

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. But he’s just virtue signalling ™!

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  5. He’s the guy who writes all those “As a life-long Republican” letters to the editor. I know a guy like that who lives in Santa Monica. He thought McCain and Romney were dangerous right-wingers and was a big Kasich supporter in 2016. He’s not actually voted for a Republican since Nixon.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  6. violent contempt for the Fourth Estate

    the Fourth Estate is vastly more violently contemptuous of Americans than Americans are of them

    and by a HUGE margin too

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. You are wrong. Our culture was damaged long, long before Trump won an election. Or don’t you remember the last eight years? You believe Trump has done a lot of damage to our culture. You give that guy a lot of credit for stuff he has no control over. And when it comes to poor morals Bill Clinton actually committed sex crimes! Get a grip. Our culture is being dismantled not by Trump but by the education/media/Hollywood complex. Trump is merely a result of it, not the cause.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  8. Yes, Trump has coarsened our culture, but he’s just part of a parade.

    Consider Clinton and his affairs. Perjury. The Impeachment bombing of Serbia.

    Consider Hollywood, even before Weinstein. More people are killed in any given episode of Hawaii Five-0 than the annual murder count for the entire state of Hawaii. Ahd there’s lots worse than Hawaii Five-0.

    Consider Obama and his many scandals, and the media that covered them up.

    Consider the tribalism of the mainstream press.

    Consider a government that rewards cheaters and punishes honest folks, starting with immigration.

    Trump is a symptom of our times, and a reaction, not a cause.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  9. President Trump is the miraculous evidence we have that American culture yet survives Mr. Reverend

    individualistic and egalitarian, uncowed by the disdain of their elitist harvardtrash superiors

    when our little country started, the elitist harvardtrash were called “british royalty” don’t you remember

    then they were called “the Bush Family”

    even today there’s something in an American what wants to be free

    and it’s beautiful to see

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. normal people get to vote too, and the concerns of normal people sometimes extend beyond aesthetic issues about “personality”

    Exactly. Normal people are starting to think that the natiinalist and pro-police posturings are integral to conservativism. He’s made being for Israel, saluting the flag, and saying Merry Christmas partisan…meaning a lot of people who until now thought those things were obvious, and had no political import now think to do any of them is to proclaim oneself as a conservative.

    In short, Trump has poisoned the well.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  11. What I think is that the f’king Baby Boomers, the worst of all generations, are dying out; there’s a couple of new generations who have only seen Presidents who were complete and utter duds and have learned not to expect much of anything from them; and they’re gonna go ahead and make, if not America, their lives as great as possible no matter who is President.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. Anyone ever heard of Bill Clinton?
    No one has polluted the white house more than rapist Bill and his bag of cigars.
    That is when the culture went south.

    mg (8cbc69)

  13. that idea needs a little more color Mr. Kishnevi

    it really does seem to me President Trump stands against the “politicization of everything” and he does this by skillfully deconstructing the politicized gloss that the harvardtrash elite put on subjects such as nationalism (which basically simply means an opposition to open borders)

    and the flag (kaepertwat’s the athlete of the year according to the Disney Star Wars ESPN Titty-Thor company)

    and Israel (wide swathes of our sleazy military “top brass” are now openly anti-semitic)

    and Christmas

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  14. Rev H, you don’t get the point. The GOP, and the Right in general, used to stand for the idea that such things are important: that morals matter. That stopped the moment Trump became the GOP nominee. And everyone who voted for Trump confirmed that morality no longer is important, and they no longer have the right to complain about cultural degradation. If it was important to them, they wouldn’t have voted for Trump.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  15. Sorry, nk, bt your head is up your ass about the Boomers. One of the most transformative generations ever.

    They ended segregation over the strong objections of their parents, forced an authoritarian government to justify itself, elected the best President of the 20th Century, and supported the previous two generations through hard work and heavy taxes. Distrusting Social Security and generally denied pensions, they demanded private savings and are the sole reason you lot have 401(k)s and such alternatives.

    Unlike the “Greatest Generation” or the hopeless Millenials, the Boomers have voted Republican since 1980.

    Kevin M (752a26)


  16. Normal people are starting to think that the natiinalist and pro-police posturings are integral to conservativism.


    Nationalism, which is nothing more than the left’s attempt to twist patriotism into some sort of fascist belief and pro-police “posturings” have always been integral to conservatism. Unless you’re a RINO of some sort.


    He’s made being for Israel, saluting the flag, and saying Merry Christmas partisan…meaning a lot of people who until now thought those things were obvious, and had no political import now think to do any of them is to proclaim oneself as a conservative.


    Trump didn’t make being pro-Israel, saluting the flag or saying Merry Christmas partisan, the left did by hating Israel and supporting moslems, taking the flag out of schools and kneeling for the anthem and having a war on Christmas for over a decade that they all deny. Those things as well as many more like “trigger warnings” and “cultural appropriation” had no political import until the left, and only the left, gave them political import. Trump, like me and millions of others are just fighting back as best we can without controlling the media, Hollywood or the “experts” at the schools. That’s why his slogan is Make America Great Again because under the rule of the left we fell from greatness to mediocrity.

    When was the last time you hear someone use the term “American Exceptionalism”? That’s because the left finds nothing exceptional and a great deal wrong about America. You’d think they wanted to fundamentally change it or something.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  17. All of a sudden people are concerned that a president can be dishonest/inconsistent/coarse?

    A video of a dog chasing its tail would be as substantial. Some guy who would prefer Hillary Clinton be POTUS is terrified that immorality and bullying is now emanating from the White House, think about that.

    Trump is a walking joke, but he was elected president. I did not vote for him but I respect the result.

    He also just happens to be a better president than Barack T Firefly was or Madame Server could ever hope to be, which really is all that matters.

    I wish we had a balanced, truthful conservative leader too but acting as if your hair is on fire thinking Trump is some sort of new-improved destructive madman is like saying your head has been in the sand until 2016.

    harkin (8256c3)

  18. “Assad hit with cruise missiles.”

    I only wish. Be a whole lot less crap going on if the leaders were targeted instead of (or at least in addition to) the troops–Many who are conscripted to serve their glorious leader.

    Of course, it could get worse if an occupation force is not landed in country to support some sort of transition. Libya is an example of that.

    Trump v Obama–Trump has demonstrated that a fairly well equipped and funded revolutionary movement can be pretty much wiped out in a matter of months by a modern military. Obama showed that neglecting revolutionary armies can build their gains almost as fast.

    Is, or should be, the USA be the world’s polices? Obama was all over the map on that:
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/24/obama-to-u-n-ok-america-will-be-worlds-police/

    “Today, I asked the world to join this effort,” Obama said. “No God condones this terrorism. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning — no negotiation with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

    “In this effort, we do not act alone — nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands,” he added. “Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.”

    Obama’s address contrasted starkly with last year’s speech, in which he highlighted the limits of American power to influence events in the Middle East. Then, Obama was defending himself from charges that he allowed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to brutally beat down Western-backed revolutionaries and further consolidate power. “The United States has a hard-earned humility when it comes to our ability to determine events inside other countries,” he said.

    But Wednesday, facing a potentially protracted military engagement in Syria and Iraq, he said: “We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be.”

    The quote:

    The answer depends on your definition. Here’s one I’ve always liked: “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. To which he added: “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

    “Conservative” cultures have fences to keep people out. “Liberal” cultures have fences to keep people in.

    Of course, this all depends on your definition of conservative and liberal. As long as we have George Lakoff and others that “deconstruct” the meaning of language–Then the debate falls into a meaningless abyss.

    Define what a liberal or progressive is, give me an example of a “liberal culture”, show me were politics is not threats of the use of a gun–Then we can have a useful discussion (in my humble opinion).

    Was Obama liberal politics and Trump conservative politics?

    Or should this be a debate about Statism? That is probably a better question. The only way that liberal politics (or even conservative politics) can change a culture is through Statism.

    And here is where conventional conservationism “loses” against conventional liberalism. Liberalism grabs the levers of power and buys people off with other peoples money. Conservatives just want to be left alone in our day to day lives. We can see how will that works–Both in the rise of liberal societies and their fall (Venezuela is a recent example)–And the extensive continuous histories of countries like the US and Switzerland under the same form of government for several centuries (if you believe, on whole, US and Switzerland to be “relatively conservative/non-statist up to now” cultures/politics).

    BfC (5517e8)

  19. Trump is a symptom of our times, and a reaction, not a cause.

    Yeah, but there used to be one side (our side) that generally told the truth, tried to hold itself to some kind of standards, that took the high road, that tried to set a positive example despite being admittedly imperfect in countless ways. We viewed those mistakes and imperfections as areas to work on, and hopefully get right in the future.

    Now a significant fraction of “our side” is celebrating and defending an ignorant, immoral bigot, whining authoritarian blow-hard and pathological liar on a daily basis.

    Whether, as Patrick suggests, Trump might not do lasting harm to our culture is not the right question to ask. You might get away with downing a fifth of vodka and tearing up the freeway at 100 mph in the middle of the night, too. But whether you end up killing anybody or not, the risk involved makes it a very, very dumb thing to do.

    Likewise with elevating an ignorant, immoral bigot, whining authoritarian blow-hard and pathological liar to presidency. Trump will not be the last – and the next demagogue could well be less like Trump’s simpering, incompetent Colonel Klink impression, and more like Steve Bannon’s ruthlessly efficient Fourth Reich buddies, Richard Spencer, et al.

    Dave (445e97)


  20. And everyone who voted for Trump confirmed that morality no longer is important, and they no longer have the right to complain about cultural degradation. If it was important to them, they wouldn’t have voted for Trump.

    No, you don’t get the point kishnevi. Everyone who voted for Hillary confirmed that morality is no longer important and neither is America. Everyone who voted for Trump voted that saving America was more important than having St. Peter as our candidate. I submit to you that those of us who voted for Trump did so because we’d rather have a morally imperfect candidate for president than a morally imperfect candidate that is also a rabid leftist.

    I am amused that after the plethora of cheaters, liars, and in Kennedy’s case a killer in politics suddenly all you virtuous guys decide to draw the line with Trump. Hypocrites!

    And still they have proved nothing about Roy Moore but we lost the seat and still Al Franken sits in the Senate. Just the last in a long list of leftist liars you all seem fine with but Trump said he could grab a pussy and all hell breaks loose.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  21. The GOP, and the Right in general, used to stand for the idea that such things are important: that morals matter. That stopped the moment Trump became the GOP nominee. And everyone who voted for Trump confirmed that morality no longer is important, and they no longer have the right to complain about cultural degradation. If it was important to them, they wouldn’t have voted for Trump.

    Expresses my view perfectly. Thank you.

    Dave (445e97)

  22. The rot runs deep and it’s difficult for these folks in their robes and slippers to see it. They talk a good game, though.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. “………..and more like Steve Bannon’s ruthlessly efficient Fourth Reich buddies, Richard Spencer, et al.”

    It’s not Bannon’s buddies using Brownshirt tactics to squash free speech on college campuses across the nation while lefty administrators and faculty egg them on.

    harkin (8256c3)

  24. Stephens wishing Clinton was president, now isn’t that sweet.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. The GOP, and the Right in general, used to stand for the idea that such things are important: that morals matter. That stopped the moment Trump became the GOP nominee. And everyone who voted for Trump confirmed that morality no longer is important, and they no longer have the right to complain about cultural degradation. If it was important to them, they wouldn’t have voted for Trump.

    Actually, dems should be flattered. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  26. I am amused that after the plethora of cheaters, liars, and in Kennedy’s case a killer in politics suddenly all you virtuous guys decide to draw the line with Trump.

    Quick quiz: what did all those “cheaters, liars and in Kennedy’s case a killer” have in common?

    They were Democrats. I can’t speak for Kishnevi, but I never voted for or supported any of them. In high-school, my first car had a bumper-sticker that read “More people have died in Ted Kennedy’s car than from nuclear power” (that was before Chernobyl and Fukushima, when it was true…).

    Where we drew the line was at welcoming shameless life-long Democratic scumbags like Donald Trump into the Republican party and flushing 150 years of principles down the toilet for the sake of winning one election.

    Dave (445e97)


  27. Likewise with elevating an ignorant, immoral bigot, whining authoritarian blow-hard and pathological liar to presidency.

    We already did that, Dave or have you already forgotten Obama. You remember the ignorant elitist and economically “spread the wealth around” ignorant immoral anti white bigot who whined his authoritarian “you didn’t build that” blow-hard nonsense around all while pathologically lying about us keeping our doctors, our health insurance and how a video caused Benghazi? Been there, done that, Dave.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  28. They ended segregation over the strong objections of their parents

    How old were they in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education)? Or even in 1964 (CRAs)?

    nk (dbc370)

  29. Talk is cheap. These folks talk of their lofty principles but they don’t have the stomach for the fight required to see them put into practice. Talk is cheap.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. They’ll talk a good game as they stand by and watch their birthright get pissed away. Don’t they look valiant? Don’t they make the right noises?

    Talk. Is. Cheap.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. Normal people are starting to think that the natiinalist and pro-police posturings are integral to conservativism. He’s made being for Israel, saluting the flag, and saying Merry Christmas partisan…meaning a lot of people who until now thought those things were obvious, and had no political import now think to do any of them is to proclaim oneself as a conservative.

    This is a textbook example of projection.

    It’s almost as if lefty hate for Israel (e.g. BDS movement against the only democracy in the ME), lefty attempts to remove the American flag from displays as being “too divisive” (Obama refused to wear an American flag lapel pin until he ran for Pres. plus attended over a decade of sermons from a hateAmerica preacher), and the left’s attempts to remove Christmas from public displays across the country has not been happening for decades.

    Now they are blaming conservatives for pointing out their own partisanship….lol.

    harkin (8256c3)

  32. In high-school, my first car had a bumper-sticker that read “More people have died in Ted Kennedy’s car than from nuclear power”

    Never saw that one.

    The ones I saw said:

    Me And All My Guns Have Killed Less People Than Ted Kennedy And His Olds 88.

    harkin (8256c3)

  33. Trump will not be the last – and the next demagogue could well be less like Trump’s simpering, incompetent Colonel Klink impression, and more like Steve Bannon’s ruthlessly efficient Fourth Reich buddies, Richard Spencer, et al.

    You do know that “Colonel Klink”, Werner Klemperer escaped with his family from NAZI Germany:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Klemperer

    (March 22, 1920 – December 6, 2000)[1] was a German-American stage, film, and television actor and singer/musician.

    Born in Cologne, Rhine Province, Germany, Klemperer and his family fled Germany in 1935. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, he began his professional acting career on the Broadway stage in 1947. Klemperer appeared in several films and numerous guest starring roles during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1965, he won the role of Colonel Wilhelm Klink on the CBS television sitcom Hogan’s Heroes.

    Klemperer was born in Cologne, Germany, to a musical family. His father was renowned conductor Otto Klemperer and his mother was soprano Johanna Geisler (de). He had a younger sister named Lotte (1923–2003).[2] His father was Jewish by birth; he converted to Catholicism but later returned to Judaism. His mother was Lutheran.[3]

    He is best known, however, as Colonel Wilhelm Klink: the bumbling, cowardly and self-serving Kommandant of Stalag 13 on Hogan’s Heroes, which aired from 1965–1971. Klemperer, conscious that he would be playing the role of a German officer during the Nazi regime, agreed to the part only on the condition that Klink would be portrayed as a fool who never succeeded.

    He was using his character to lambast NAZI’s and using humor to prevent them from being reborn/respected.

    BfC (5517e8)

  34. I understand that many of you are disappointed with Trump . It sucks to be you. But you should be equally as happy that pinko pig Hillary lost. Now rather than constantly rehash all Trumps bad points we should be trying to figure out how to unite the party and get people to join us before we wind up with another leftist making Executive Orders like post-it notes.

    If the left gets back into power before at least eight years this country is done! That’s what is important not Trumps vulgarity.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)


  35. Me And All My Guns Have Killed Less People Than Ted Kennedy And His Olds 88.


    Fortunately I can’t say that, Harkin. I’m a vet.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  36. when you say you want stinkypig Clinton in the presidency, what you’re saying is you don’t believe there’s anything at all problematic about the corruption and rot at the sleazy Department of Justice and at our sordid, lawless KGB-like FBI

    in fact you see this corruption as a template

    and this is why

    in spite of his mild heresies

    Bret Stephens has a job at the New York Times

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  37. put the fifth down, Dave.

    mg (8cbc69)

  38. Morality-the Bushes are thought if by most Never Trumpers as moral men.

    Bush Sr. was head of the CIA. It readily engaged in extrajudicial killings and overthrows. The wars in Iraq and Panama; wherein was that in the military oath to protect and defend the US and the Constitution? As to Bush Jr., while we had every right to hint and kill OBL and AQ, the rest of it was a disgrace. Both supported trade and immigration policies that destroyed industries and communities. Neither cared for a moment about the deficit. These are moral men?

    I voted for both, twice. But as to Bush Jr.’s Iraq war especially, that to me is in retrospect the height of immorality.

    Bugg (08921e)

  39. Been there, done that, Dave.

    Your imperviousness to the point and Pavlovian “what-aboutism” response is remarkable.

    Putting aside the fact that Trump tells more lies in a single interview than Obama told during an eight-year term, Obama was a Democrat. He never represented, or claimed to represent, or was alleged to represent, any idea or political philosophy or policy that I, myself, support.

    It like the difference between the neighbor’s kid getting caught shop-lifting, and your kid getting caught shop-lifting. Theft is wrong, no matter who does it. But when the neighbor’s kid gets caught shop-lifting, it reflects no discredit on you or anything you hold dear. You may tsk-tsk and shake your head, but at the end of the day, it’s somebody else’s problem. When YOUR kid gets caught shop-lifting, on the other hand, it is something you should probably get pretty damned upset about.

    As usual, your argument boils down to: Democrats are dirty, dishonest, immoral scumbags, so who cares if Republicans are also dirty, dishonest, immoral scumbags?

    Despite your best efforts, and Donald Trump’s best efforts, some of us still do.

    Dave (445e97)

  40. Well there is a certain lack of perspective, the problwn with Panama, was mostly our bad deal with trujillo of which Noriega was part, as we discovered mossack fonseca was a party to that. Lumumba and co, I don’t really cry too much about. The sandinistas have been back in power for eleven years.

    narciso (d1f714)

  41. How old were they in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education)? Or even in 1964 (CRAs)?

    Brown did very little in the culture. The adults of the time did not accept it in their own communities. I was attending a segregated school in Pasadena, CA as late as 1962. There were two Boy’s Clubs in town. Wanna guess the difference?

    As for the Boomers in 1964, the leading edge was turning 18 and facing the draft. And still it was not being accepted. The Bunker-Stivic debate was still going on in the 70’s. The Generation Gap was in part about race in part about the War and in part about the lying sack-of sh1t Presidents we had 1963-1974.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  42. we should be trying to figure out how to unite the party and get people to join us

    Disavow Trump, and impeach him if he won’t resign.

    What could be more obvious?

    Dave (445e97)

  43. #42

    You misspelled “shatter”

    Kevin M (752a26)

  44. “Fortunately I can’t say that, Harkin. I’m a vet.”

    Actually I think you can unless you went into combat with your own private arms and NOT Uncle Sam’s.

    Also — I salute your service!

    harkin (8256c3)

  45. What would you impeach him for?

    1. The deeply ironic (and highly silly) charges regarding emoluments? See the Clinton Foundation for actual emoluments.
    2. Conduct unbecoming (again ironic) considering either Clinton.
    3. Incompetence? Is he less competent than Carter?
    4. Lying? He’s a politician. It’s what they do. And besides PERJURY is not an impeachable offense.
    5. You don’t like him? Fine. Find an opponent, but don’t rerun the election in the Senate.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  46. You misspelled “shatter”

    Love and hope and sex and dreams
    Are still surviving on the street
    Look at me, I’m in tatters!
    I’m a shattered

    – The Rolling Stones, Shattered

    Dave (445e97)

  47. It sounds like Stephens is at the “I still hate him but I kinda like what he’s doing” phase which was outlined by Scott Adams. Stephens can’t stand him and thinks he’s bad for the culture, and that’s fine. Most everybody I know is in variations of this state of mind. Nobody even talks about his awful persona at holiday dinners any more–they would look like the sad reporter on CBS who found out that all the people he set up to get bad news about the tax cuts were actually going to rake it in.

    IOW the culture, especially pop culture rejects him, in toto: the present anti-harassment fever is in part due to Trump’s potty talk. Could a larger rejection of filth culture be coming?

    Why that doesn’t bother me as much as Stphens is that Trump’s lies and bullying re the media, about Hillary, about China, etc., are all out in the open. If people don’t like it, they can yell back! And they do–CNN is dining out on Trump in luxury these days. As opposed to Obama’s sneaky surveillance of the media, his sneaky kowtowing to Russia and Iran, Clinton’s sneaky rapes and seductions. And if you uncover this abuse and object you were branded a bigot and the worst sort of political liar.

    As for the debt, I fear it too, but at least the tax cut to corporations was built on business principles and not just giveaways to the base. Even Obama said it should be lowered, but the leftist in him just couldn’t do it. A business boom would help the debt, hopefully. And Trump hinted that the repeal of the individual mandate was sorta secret so that the media wouldn’t catch on that the GOP was beginning a war of attrition on the ACA.

    Finally, his main accomplishment is that he raised a family of hardworking, sensible, loving children. They are not driving around in Ferraris and snorting coke. That indicates something about his character that is good.

    So I’m hopeful, and obviously trying to understand my own feelings too. I pray, honestly pray, that I am right for my own sake and our country’s.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  48. All I know is Trumps enemies are my enemies.

    https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)


  49. Me And All My Guns


    I was referring to the “me” part, harkin.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  50. What would you impeach him for?

    He could be impeached for any number of things. Remember that impeachment is a political process, not a judicial process.

    Better still would be for Trump to resign, perhaps with the promise of a blanket pardon and some kind of face-saving fig leaf involving a medical condition. His “bone spurs” could flare up again, for instance…

    Otherwise, there is no shortage of material.

    Denying and attempting to cover-up the act of war against our country committed by Russia on his behalf (whether he was aware of it at the time or not), to wit, treason, would be one possibility.

    Appointing a covert agent of a foreign government to be National Security Advisor seems like another grave offense.

    He is on videotape instructing the Russian intelligence agencies to illegally obtain damaging material on his opponent and release it help him win the election.

    He is also on videotape confessing to obstruction of justice.

    In this case, it’s less important to be thorough than it is to return a conviction as rapidly as possible.

    Dave (445e97)

  51. Sad to see so many people making themselves miserable through an ungrateful heart.

    There’s a better way.

    TheBas (8d01aa)

  52. Maybe you think the Russia investigation is much ado about nothing. Yet Trump brought it on himself every step of the way, from firing James Comey after the former FBI director wouldn’t swear fealty, to (potentially) admitting to obstruction of justice with that tweet about Mike Flynn’s firing.

    both of these things happened *after* the “Russian investigation” hoax was contrived by our corrupt FBI, so how could President Trump be said to have “brought it on himself every step of the way”

    is Bret Stephens being dishonest or does he have the reasoning skills of a six-year-old

    or is it both

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  53. family of hardworking, sensible,
    I’m not sure if Eric and Donnie Jr fit that description. Donnie in particular seems like an overage frat boy.

    Ivanka does better. Or at least, she tries to make sure she is seen as a dedicated mom/businesswoman. Which is probably why, of the three, she seems the best liked in general, and the most feared by the Left. She’s also the one who has (vua her clothing line) a business profile that doesn’t sum up as “offspring of Donald Sr.”

    Barron is a middle schooler so he compares to the Clinton and Obama offspring. In that he seems to get less attention than they did at a comparable age, credit should be given to Melania.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  54. Mr. Trump’s kids are better educated more productive and by far more in touch with real Americans than those vapid worthless snotty-assed Bush girls that’s for sure

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  55. “When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

    “The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested. …

    Lebanese arms dealer Ali Fayad, a suspected top Hezbollah operative whom agents believed reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a key supplier of weapons to Syria and Iraq, was arrested in Prague in the spring of 2014. But for the nearly two years Fayad was in custody, top Obama administration officials declined to apply serious pressure on the Czech government to extradite him to the United States, even as Putin was lobbying aggressively against it.”

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/12/28/why_is_maxine_waters_silent_on_the_terrorist_drug-dealing_probe_that_obama_shut_down_135865.html

    But Trump!! Russia!! Collusion!!

    Impeach, impeach impeach!!!!

    So cute

    harkin (8256c3)

  56. Brett Stephens wants to repeal The Second Amendment so at least he’s a Constitutional Conservative.

    Pinandpuller (78771a)

  57. All I know is Trumps enemies are my enemies.

    The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. He can in fact be my enemy as well.

    Your entire argument boils down to the premise that authoritarian statists are fine as long as they are social conservatives, and that claims of being moral in politics ate always window dressing.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  58. Project Cassandra: the name as self fulfilling prophecy, perhaps?

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  59. Careful, Patricia, Scott Adams is considered a heretic around here…

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  60. Stephens isn’t really making an argument here he’s just emoting

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  61. So our host was making a serious point in his post.

    I’m not even going to quarrel with the ridiculous responses to my comment.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  62. Big stuff happening in Iran. EFF a bunch of Bret Stephenses and the mules they rode in on.

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  63. “Putting aside the fact that Trump tells more lies in a single interview than Obama told during an eight-year term, Obama was a Democrat.“

    Dave is not a serious man.

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  64. “The guy with his wife by his side,
    That began with an escalator ride;
    Hip hooray! The American way!
    The world is a stage;
    the stage is a world of entertainment!”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  65. Mr. Trump’s kids are better educated more productive and by far more in touch with real Americans than those vapid worthless snotty-assed Bush girls that’s for sure
    happyfeet (28a91b) — 12/30/2017 @ 2:01 pm

    I bet they can make a great Margarita.

    Pinandpuller (78771a)

  66. daddy says they do it the best

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  67. @65. Bet our Captain has made a Margarita or two, too, in his day.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  68. The erosion of our nation has led to a rot upon which it will fall. The natural cycles of full-on statists and lesser statists are not as atomic bombs were at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are in a mini-cycle of a lesser statist now.

    The destruction of vigilance and the standards used to uphold our republic are more like the inevitability of the allies’ victory over the Axis – gradually, the abundance of resources crushed the limited axis powers. Can you imagine what it is going to be like when we have an economic collapse anything close to what we experienced in the 30s? Do you see any sign of the self-sufficiency and selflessness which is essential to riding out such a time? How about credible leadership to lead us through?

    Technical and regulatory tweaks won’t begin to work. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not, and can not, compel Americans (and the millions of illegal guests) to sacrifice for the greater good. The black markets which are certain to break out will make Capone, Kennedy, and the boys look like altar boys in comparison.

    Riding bubble waves is great fun and all. Just sit back and enjoy. But, when it pops, there has got to be something quite substantial in the seats of power to steer though the lethal rapids. DJT and the GOPe ain’t it. Believe me.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  69. Patton, was an insufferable @$&#.

    So was Lincoln, Teddy, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Chesty Puller, 99 percent of marine drill sargents.

    But the results are therr

    EPWJ (4dc563)

  70. Most of the founding fathers personal lives would not have passed the intense media of today

    EPWJ (4dc563)

  71. Ed, DJT and the GOP ain’t supposed to be it, and that’s the problem. What ever happened to self reliance and personable responsibility?

    If America is over, it ain’t because the president and a political party aren’t up to taking care of us, it’s because most of the country, D and R alike, think the president and the party are supposed to take care of us.

    Do for yourself, and trust in God. Life is tough, then you die. Trusting in politicians, ANY politicians, is just going to make life tougher.

    TheBas (8d01aa)


  72. Your entire argument boils down to the premise that authoritarian statists are fine as long as they are social conservatives, and that claims of being moral in politics ate always window dressing.


    We’ve been through this before, Kishnevi, where you read something I wrote then decide what I said based on your own prejudices and desires. My argument does not boil down to anything of the sort. My argument is that the “authoritarian statist” was the commie, pinko Hildabeast. Trump’s not perfect but he’s better than she is and that claims of being moral in politics are to be taken with a grain of salt. Neither of them is or was moral!!!! Or don’t you get that? But she is an immoral commie, leftist pig and he’s just immoral. Or are you claiming immoral bitches are fine as long as they’re not social conservatives?

    I don’t like Trump’s morality any more than you but throw in a super duper dose of radical left on top of it and you’ve got Hillary. I’ll settle for Trump.

    If Hillary won we’d have a highly immoral leftist pres and no tax reform/reduction, no recognition for Jerusalem, no defeat of ISIS, no Gorsuch, an 200+ conservative judges, we’d still be in that glow-ball warming pact and still whispering Merry Christmas. Would you prefer that?

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  73. @71-TheBas Most of my post is about decrying the rot in our country. The very rot to which you refer in reply.

    Pat’s post laments the lack of gravitas in our current leadership. That is ultimately the problem. DJT and the GOPe could each begin to preach as a Thatcher or Reagan and it would all fall on deaf ears. In the end, setting an elevating tone and urging us to be our best selves is all a president really has. DJT certainly did this in the campaign with MAGA. Scott Adams has brilliantly described these tactics (read his book!). Yet, that’s all MAGA is – a tactic.

    When things begin to fall apart for realz, the naked emperor will not have a ghost of a chance in convincing Americans that we really can overcome. On top of this, we are divided as we have not been since the 1850s. FDR, Reagan, and Lincoln combined would have enormous difficulty reaching today’s folks. The dandy DJT has no shot at all.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  74. Heard Stephens’ paper (along w most of the msm) was ignoring the Iranian anti- govt demonstrations so I ventured over to the Times’ front page.

    Only thing on Iran was link to opinion telling Trump to not encourage Iranian demonstrators…..how Obama of them.

    So I went to World section and the demonstrations are the third most prominent story on the page, right after one on LGBTs coming out in Lebanon and another about the plight of Kazakh cowboys.

    The paper is literally falling apart.

    harkin (8256c3)

  75. Yes erdbrink is filing from Tokyo, the sepah talking points, the telegraph did a priforma piece after three days.

    narciso (d1f714)

  76. The 2 questions you pose could be applied to every occupant of the White House this century. I object to the notion in Stephens column that these risks are somehow unique to the Trump Presidency.

    Shipwreckedcrew (0faf7a)

  77. It helps when you have a director who doesn’t seek out the moderate elements of hezbollah

    https://mobile.twitter.com/omriceren/status/947265927845904385?p=v

    narciso (d1f714)

  78. You would think this is worth a note

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jobahout/status/947200955602341890/photo/1

    narciso (d1f714)

  79. I would argue that while damage has been done to our culture, it has (for them most part, anyway) NOT been done by Trump. Much of it, OTOH, has been done by both the Hobby Protest Left and the Progressive/Democrat establishment.

    Trump did not make the mainstream media a pack of inept liars; they did that to themselves by being sure that nobody would call them on it. And then by continuing to be sure, while people were proving them wrong.

    Trump did little to nothing to invite the unhinged comparisons to a certain Austrian monster. In fact, the Left went off the deep end on that score way back during the Bush administration. Nor did Trump (or Bush, for that matter) foster the almost limitless license grantd ‘protesters’ (provided they be on the Left) that now has some of the more deluded Leftists of recentn society memory reinacting the predations of Mussolini’s Silvershirts in the name of anti-fascism.

    What Trump has done is become a lightning rod for the Left’s derangements, highlighting in many ways the damage the Left has visited on society this last half-century.

    Trump may have – indeed almost certainly did – take advantage of the fall of standards of sexual behavior. He didn’t set off the Sexual Revolution (which history will record as having been won by the STDs). He didn’t preach the Payboy Philosophy; THAT was done by a man I always considered a prime creep. Nor did he revive the ‘Free Love’ idiocy that keeps springing up on the radical Left, rather like episodic malaria.

    There are plently of flaws,on the Right. The lingering fungus of White Supremacy (the real idiots, not the imagine ‘Patriarchy’). The prejudice against Gays, which the Politically Gay so love to stir up with exhibits of wretched excess (seriously, why can’t we,just dismiss a middle aged, pot-bellied, bald man on public parade in bondage costume as ‘a vulgar idiot’ instead of having a cow?).

    But the damage being done to society, or being revealed as having been done, since Trump’s election? That’s themdoing of the Left.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  80. Harkin, it’s on the front page, but it’s all the way down on the bottom left.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/30/world/middleeast/iran-protests-rouhani.html
    Apparently the deaths of John Portman and Erika Garner are more important.

    Kishnevi (5a999e)

  81. #50,

    Except for all of this being trumped up BS, you have a point.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  82. Good grief you are silly juche Dave,

    So you’re moving the goalposts, would Cruz have had an easier time of it, I don’t think so, kasuch well he would have given up on the 20 yard line.

    narciso (d1f714)

  83. The “Russian investigation” was a wink-wink-nudge-nudge pretext for wiretapping the Trump campaign with a FISA warrant. On a par with bugging the McGovern campaign on the pretext that he was cozy with Castro.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  84. This is the paradise juche Dave wishes for:
    http://.euronews.com/2017/12/28/venezuela-maduro-accuses-portugal-of-sabotaging-christmas-following-failed-pork-deliveries

    Don’t ask sasse about it though.

    narciso (d1f714)

  85. happyfeet is correct on Fourth Estate. Stephens is hopefully a mole for the Right ( I doubt this) who is getting some Progressives to think out of their bubble once in a while. On the other hand, he may be in the tank just for a steady paycheck. He has a good point about cultural corrosion, but compared to the Left, Trump sould appear an avatar of rectitude — no kidding. The Left, Hollywood and Obama have Pied Pipered us all so far from the shining city upon a hill that you have to wonder how we can turn it around. Trump is the man of the hour because he attracted so many voters previously beholden to unions and Democrats, whilst Romney, for all his straight laced propriety, et cetera, could not get a majority. You can’t get the Great Unwashed to vote for a mainstream Republican, I fear. Anyway, Trump is a lamb in wolf’s clothing, even if the media will never agree. (A hat tip to Winston Churchill, who, as quoted in Darkest Hour, dubbed the Labour Party leader Clement Attlee, “a sheep in sheep’s clothing.”) By the way, is there any hope in the long run for humanity, when a nation so ungrateful can dump Winston Churchill in May, 1945? (!!!) It’s like Caesar returns from victory in Gaul for a triumphal parade, and the Romans don’t even show up to honor their victorious Imperator!

    Kevin Conway (c3d6c5)

  86. Now ABC news is reporting the Russia collusion investigation didn’t have anything to do with Steele or the dossier, it started with papapoopoulos having a drink with an Australian journalist and spilling some beans. What next!?!?!?

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  87. This is the direction the left wants to take us. Trump is against this. Which is “immoral”?

    https://youtu.be/cqZDmFmyjVg

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  88. Its practically oduls coronello particularly since the exful didn’t happen till may, accirdibg to their own records then seeing thAT 1%of all of humas emails have been released.

    narciso (d1f714)

  89. Shooting someone you’ve never met before, because he disagrees with you over ideology, is judged to be immoral. Shooting someone you’ve never met before, because he wears a uniform which says that he has sworn fealty to a regime that violently disagrees with yours over ideology is judged to be necessary, even mandatory, for the sake of survival. Survival, evidently, trumps (you should pardon the expression) morality. The Left has pointedly made the fight existential. The political fight, I mean. Now.

    [For the record, I supported Cruz, and I didn’t vote for Trump, and I’m still OK with that.]

    Chas C-Q (dcc69e)

  90. Ed, what your average Trump voter laments is the past conservatives gravitas accomplished NOTHING except their own self righteousness. Conservatism has conserved very little in the last 30 years. It has not conserved sane fiscal policy, immigration standards, American traditions and mores, education standards, an objective media, national pride, and is even now losing a cohesive affective military and trust in law enforcement and the judiciary.

    All the high principles and exemplary ethics have some to squat, it’s all turned out to be self congratulatory cowardice justifying failure.

    Trump wasn’t elected to be a moral authority, look to your church for that. Trump was elected to serve our nation, and the reason he was elected is because he fights rather than postures like the established political hacks infesting the ranks of republicans. He speakers the language of patriotism the way the normal everyday American patriot speaks it,

    Also, normal people have no illusions about the perfection of great men. From Abraham, who dabbled with prostitutes, to king David who had his mistresses husband killed, to Washington who owned slaves, and on through history, no man will hold up for the self righteous. What we have is a man who loves America and is fighting valiantly for her, rejoice.

    TheBas (8d01aa)

  91. So why aren’t the protests in Iran making headlines?

    The short answer is that the American media is incapable of covering the story, because its resources and available story-lines for Iran reporting and expertise were shaped by two powerful official forces—the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Obama White House. Without government minders providing them with story-lines and experts, American reporters are simply lost—and it shows……..

    ……Networks like like CNN and MSNBC which have gambled their remaining resources and prestige on a #Resist business model are in even deeper trouble. Providing media therapy for a relatively large audience apparently keen to waste hours staring at a white truck obscuring the country club where Donald Trump is playing golf is their entire business model—a Hail Mary pass from a business that had nearly been eaten alive by Facebook and Google. First down! So it doesn’t matter how many dumb Trump-Russia stories the networks, or the Washington Post, or the New Yorker get wrong, as long as viewership and subscriptions are up—right?

    The problem, of course, is that the places that have obsessively run those stories for the past year aren’t really news outfits—not anymore. They are in the aromatherapy business. And the karmic sooth-sayers and yogic flyers and mid-level political operators they employ as “experts” and “reporters” simply aren’t capable of covering actual news stories, because that is not part of their skill-set.”

    Just a small sample of a great read.

    http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/252332/why-cant-the-american-media-cover-the-protests-in-iran

    harkin (8256c3)

  92. what your average Trump voter laments is the past conservatives gravitas accomplished NOTHING except their own self righteousness.

    This is a lie that Trump cultists love to repeat.

    Because grown-up conservatives, in a closely divided country where it is usually impossible to pass major legislation without bipartisan support, did not accomplish every last goal that might have been desirable, we need to invent a completely false narrative that says they accomplished nothing at all.

    Trump and his cheerleaders are completely untethered to reality.

    Dave (445e97)

  93. Yes lee Smith, has a point, but this is actually collusion with the Iranian regime, its not mere ignorance,

    narciso (d1f714)

  94. @90

    I’m sorry man, but as a liberal, I find this perspective ridiculous. Republicans went from historic lows after Bush’s disaster of a Presidency, to control of both houses of congress. They were largely successful at blocking the Obama administration. They also shifted a huge amount of state and lower legislative positions. It wasn’t the alt-right doing this, it wasn’t Breitbart. Boehner and McConnell should be considered political geniuses. Sure, they lied about a lot of stuff, but the election of Trump shows that people don’t care if they’re lied to.

    Davethulhu (99cc74)

  95. they’re tethered to the reality that under President Trump they get tax cuts while under a scrotum-lick like Obama all everybody got was food stamps

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  96. And what dud they do with that power but mainly rubberstamp the Obama regimes major projects, do a pitiful amount of oversight and call it progress. Now they mostly serve as an obstruction

    narciso (d1f714)

  97. I’m sorry man, but as a liberal, I find this perspective ridiculous.

    Squidtastic, Cthulhu!!!!!

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  98. 92… many empty words, still no accomplishments can he list.

    Truly DaveCon One…

    Colonel Haiku (455bcf)

  99. I quite agree with every word of this post and we will apply its sentiments everywhere.

    Next time my German cousins get uppity, we will only send gentlemen to storm the beaches. Gentlemen, sans peur et sans reproche, hoity-toity, clean of mind and body, never masturbate, pick their noses or fart, always wear clean white shirts and clean unfrayed undies with neither skidmarks in the back nor yellow ones in front and certainly have no aggressive egos nor do they talk trash about assholes.

    Bound to work, the next set of Nazis will cease their depredations in stunned admiration of the worthiness of their enemies.

    By which I really mean to say, Republicans of the never Trump variety, they thirst for death, and the every ready lefty-demmies are there to give them what they wish.

    Fred Z (05d938)

  100. And they stabbed the tea party right through the sternum while doing this, mcturtle throwing Cruz under the bus, letting obamacare fester like a supporating wound.

    narciso (d1f714)

  101. @81

    Except for all of this being trumped up BS, you have a point.

    Haha! I see what you did there!

    Tell me, do you believe the articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson (who came within one vote of conviction in the senate) were fair?

    Johnson’s impeachment was the most “trumped up”, politically-motivated power-grab imaginable. And our country paid a terrible price for the next hundred years thanks to that one vote shortfall.

    Regardless, there is ample precedent for using impeachment to remove a president for being a political obstacle and liability. That Trump is also manifestly corrupt, immoral and criminally insane should just make it easier to do the right thing.

    Dave (ee4aca)

  102. Well feecthey invited the saracen into their midst as the Romans invaded the goth and vandals milennua ago.

    narciso (d1f714)

  103. Fred, btw Hans your prime minister is a piece of work:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/HNIJohnMiller/status/947176875394322435?p=v

    narciso (d1f714)

  104. And BTW Col. Haiku, your comment was indeed not ridiculous!

    Patricia (5fc097)

  105. Reminds me of when Mom would bring home neopolitan ice cream. There would be two or three quarts sitting in the freezer with the vanilla and strawberry portions intact.

    Homer Simpson on Neopolitan. [YouTube]

    Why don’t you buy chocolate? “Because you want a variety.” she’d answer.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  106. “Have you seen a normalization of mindless alpha-male silliness since Trump became a candidate?” No, quite the opposite! White males continue to be the go-to Bogeyman of The Current Year, and they’re getting whipped 3 times harder since Trump’s election. Boorish, handsy and exploitative alpha men are going down by the dozens.

    I don’t fret too much about whether Hillary would have been better on the debt bubble, for two reasons: 1) she wouldn’t be, obviously, and 2) even if she was, the global debt problem is insoluble.

    I give thanks that, because HRC lost, we no longer expect to see a BLM chair in the cabinet, and I’m not being imprisoned yet for intentional misuse of pronouns.

    gp (0c542c)

  107. What irritates me about the NeverTrumpers is that they don’t seem do anything but whine about Trump, they don’t offer any sort of way forward or realistic plan for the future.

    James Shearer (951d11)

  108. Oh, I just let my mommy and daddy do that for me, Mr. Shearer. How come you want Mr. Trump to do that for you? Don’t you have a mommy and daddy?

    nk (dbc370)

  109. they don’t seem do anything but whine about Trump

    a year later and they’re still pumping out thumb-sucking drivel

    they can’t get their head around the idea that people don’t preference a harvardtrash p.o.s. career politician like Ted Cruz over an accomplished businessman

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  110. awesome tweet Ted golf clap golf clap

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  111. I’m not going to say this is the most irrelevant column since bill Ayers on September 11th but it’s in the runup.

    narciso (104f4d)

  112. That’s a good feature, Mr. Shearer, better they emit high volume screeching in heaven than choosing to herd over hell i.e. join arms with the mass of the combined liberal-left.

    urbanleftbehind (87ccb0)

  113. Canada said it was encouraged by the protests.

    in the clinch bieber has more balls than obama

    and bieber didn’t even go to harvard

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  114. Heck Coby shoulders has more sense (she played a Canadian on himym)

    http://www.atimes.com/article/trump-offers-daring-program-restore-us-dominance/

    narciso (104f4d)

  115. speaking of deranged nevertrumpers does this track with anyone’s perception of reality?

    “Fake news” and “covfefe” are among the phrases that made it onto one university’s list of “banished words” this year.

    “Fake news” rose to prominence during Trump’s campaign, when he began using the phrase to attack stories critical of him and his campaign. He has continued to use the phrase during his administration.

    “fake news” was introduced into the vernacular by CNN Jake Tapper propaganda sluts as part of their ginned-up case against President Trump’s legitimacy during the period that people were trying to coerce electors into casting their electoral votes for stinkypig

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  116. 109

    Oh, I just let my mommy and daddy do that for me, Mr. Shearer. How come you want Mr. Trump to do that for you? Don’t you have a mommy and daddy?

    Okay, they also whine a lot about people who support Trump.

    James B. Shearer (951d11)

  117. find this perspective ridiculous. Republicans went from historic lows after Bush’s disaster of a Presidency, to control of both houses of congress. They were largely successful at blocking the Obama administration. They also shifted a huge amount of state and lower legislative positions. It wasn’t the alt-right doing this, it wasn’t Breitbart. Boehner and McConnell should be considered political geniuses. Sure, they lied about a lot of stuff, but the election of Trump shows that people don’t care if they’re lied to.

    Kind of like “Fool me a thousand times..shame on me”

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (69b6bd)

  118. Just remember it’s just one- third who have no self respect

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (69b6bd)

  119. Shovel ready jobs… Obama who had never used a shovel in his life was using one to drain my taxes and take out loans to China (over ~$1 Trillion per year). There were never any shovel ready jobs. It was used to prevent layoffs in government jobs and by votes. And has given us very low overall growth in the economy with high unemployement, stagnate wages and increasing taxes.

    Obama lied about health care–Literately raised my premiums for my family of 4 from $400 or less per month before Obama Care/ACA to $2,350 per month. And the deductibles went from $2,000 to >%9,000 per person, 2x family members.

    Obama ran weapons into Mexico and they have been used from multiple murders on both sides of the boarder. Flooded my state with “refugees”. And I end up with more militarized police and security kabuki at air ports. And my California drivers license will not even good enough to get on an airplane (Real ID program). Papers please?

    Obama had an absolute Democratic majority in the house and senate where no Republican could stop legislation. Eventually had the “Reid” Rule to allow majority approvals for judges in the Senate (instead of 60 votes). They could have “fixed everything” but did not–Instead they lost power pretty quickly to the Republicans. Apparently, Democratic Rule was not vary palatable to the country. And it resulted in the lose of >1,000 Democratic office holders throughout the country.

    Obama lied about the JV team in the middle east back in 2014. We have been “at war” longer than WWII. Deaths (on all sides, not just our military) and refugees.

    Obama prevented drug investigations and prosecutions of Iranian backed (owned?) organizations so that he could help Iran by sending them plane loads of cash and support their nuclear weapons development.. Drugs and shootings are getting even worse.

    Can you tell me about a few Trump lies that has affected your life in such a large way?

    BfC (5517e8)

  120. Bret, you used to be a pretty smart feller, what happened to you?

    askeptic (8d10f9)

  121. @92- I get it, anyone that disagrees with you is a liar. Whatever gets you through the night. But to us normal people, this very post is a confession that conservatives are all about style, not substance. Policy be danged, what’s important is LOOKING good.

    All hat and no cattle, as they say.

    TheBas (8d01aa)

  122. You’re asking for reason in the age of rationalization. I feel exactly the way you do. Yes, I’m happy for Trump’s accomplishments (although I’m pleased as punch that he failed to give us Obamacare-lite) and I’m relieved that Hillary lost, but none of this changes the fact that Donald ‘Big Hands’ Trump is now the titular head of the Republican Party. I could live with the crassness and childish impulsiveness, but when combined with Trump’s lack of real conservatism it’s a very big problem.

    CW (90c5f8)

  123. “This is the fatal mistake of conservatives who’ve decided the best way to deal with Trump’s personality — the lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness — is to pretend it doesn’t matter. “Character Doesn’t Count” has become a de facto G.O.P. motto. “Virtue Doesn’t Matter” might be another.”

    yet Bret Stephens suffers from all of these same flaws that he falsely assumes Trump suffers from. Same for all of the POTUS in office since Reagan.

    thats what bothered me about everyone who has a beef about Trump: they are actually what they say Trump is. Perfect links tactics in Rules for Radicals.

    Collusion with Russians? check, everyone colluded with Russia but Trump.

    lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, sexual impropriety, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness? check check and triple check. Bushs, Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, Romneys, McCains, Pelosis, Schumers, Kennedys, etc…all of them can be called out for the exact same characters flaws that Trump supposedly has (if he has any of these but the most minor). Remember when Bush Jr said the following In 2008: (Bush) also told Latimer to take out a reference to the “conservative movement” in a speech. “Let me tell you something,” the President said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”

    yeah that Bush of that Bush Royal Presidential Family. and NO ONE said a thing about it.

    Just seems more like sour grapes from a guy who feels Trump is bellow what the right-left establishments feels is required to be POTUS. basically the right-left establishments feels a POTUS should be a thug who acts like a 18th century European pre-Amercian Revolution pathetic royal prince dandy.

    Where Eagles Dare (8f562c)

  124. > yet Bret Stephens suffers from all of these same flaws that he falsely assumes Trump suffers from. Same for all of the POTUS in office since Reagan.

    I’m not aware of any Presidential candidate, let alone any President, who tarred his political opponents with schoolyard bully nicknames.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  125. please read the Bush quote then.

    also “tarred his political opponents with schoolyard bully nicknames.” oh please, you are exactly the type I wrote against. So if a POTUS uses “tough” language he is some kind of schoolyard bully. I guess you and modern day politicians are simply thin-skinned.

    The last two VPOTUS dropped F bombs, some at opponents and nobody lost any sleep. Trump throws zingers and ow you get a rash or hives. pathetic.

    read it again. so you would rather they march 20 paces and run and shoot each other the, like in the past? when have “words” all of a sudden been forbidden by a POTUS?

    oh and McCain throw some quaint “mud” at Romney. Obviously you didn’t follow the elections much.

    cheers sport.

    Where Eagles Dare (8f562c)

  126. In the world that I inhabit, people don’t refer to each other using monikers like “lying Ted”, “little Marco”, or “sloppy Steve”; the only people who do that are people who want to use the force of their contempt to make people dislike their targets based on the contempt embedded within the slur rather than on a rational evaluation of their behavior.

    It’s not about *tough language*; you can use tough language without using that kind of slur.

    > The last two VPOTUS dropped F bombs

    I’m aware. I objected to both of them.

    > please read the Bush quote then. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass”?

    That’s not the same thing at all. I can’t tell if you actually can’t see the difference or if you are deliberately feigning an inability to see the difference as part of an attempt to make your guy look more normal.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  127. tarred his political opponents with schoolyard bully nicknames, the following POTUS and politicians should be labeled “schoolyard bully” LOL:

    “A bastard brat of a Scotch peddler.” —John Adams on Alexander Hamilton

    “[His ideas of popular sovereignty are] as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”–Abraham Lincoln, on his political rival Senator Stephen Douglas.

    “Jerry Ford is so dumb that he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”–Lyndon B. Johnson (you’ll be seeing him again) on Gerald Ford.

    “A little emasculated mass of inanity.”–Noted manly man Theodore Roosevelt about author Henry James.

    “McKinley has a chocolate eclair backbone.”–Theodore Roosevelt on his predecessor William McKinley.

    “[A] chameleon on plaid.”–Herbert Hoover, making Franklin D. Roosevelt sound awesome.

    “That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad.”–Calvin Coolidge on Herbert Hoover.

    “I may not know much, but I know chicken sh*t from chicken salad.”–Lyndon B. Johnson, after listening to a campaign speech by Richard Nixon.

    “Ford’s economics are the worst thing that’s happened to this country since pantyrose ruined finger-f*cking.”–Insult powerhouse Lyndon B. Johnson on Gerald R. Ford.

    “I don’t think Bush would have liked Elvis very much, and that’s just another thing that’s wrong with him.”–Bill Clinton on President George Bush the Elder.

    Where Eagles Dare (8f562c)

  128. First, how many of those quotes were statements made in private, in letters to friends, or the like, and how many were made at large public events?

    Second, I’d totally agree that Johnson was a bully. I don’t think that’s even remotely in question.

    Third, the overwhelming majority of those are not even remotely similar to the Trump quotes I pulled out. It’s not like Hoover went around calling Roosevelt “Frank the Chameleon”. I’ll give you the Adams quote — although, note, politics was very different in the eighteenth century, in ways that I don’t think it’s good to emulate — but the rest of these don’t seem comparable.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  129. @aphrael if you can’t ell you will never convince of your position on this then that says much more about you then me. Many other are not just comparable they are worse. Hey you wish to not say that, fine. I dont play by semantics, just the truth.

    American History is flush with rough talk by past occupants of the White House. to act as if your shorts are in a twist and that disqualifies Trump from being POTUS is laughable. You even admit that some of the past POTUS were true. So whats the point to all of this?

    “lying Ted”, “little Marco”, or “sloppy Steve”? really? how is that any different from “McKinley has a chocolate eclair backbone”? not the same? how so? I can’t tell if you are deliberately feigning an inability to see the similarities as part of an attempt to make your position look more normal.

    sure they are “schoolyard” but we are talking grammar school level and yet everyone is so “shocked” when much worse is said by others towards Trump, yet Trumps cut to the bone and score their points. They are so basic and cutting and stay with a viewers opinion of said individual. Trumps fault? dont think so.

    lets be real, every POTUS and rival has called the other “a lair”. What is it so bad that Trump said it? because he made it into a catch phrase that Cruz couldn’t overcome? More like Cruz’s fault than Trump’s. Any 10 year old could’ve.

    so you are ok that past POTUS said insults but not ok that Trump does? Dont how you can have it both ways. Thats not logical.

    The people you mentioned Trump “insults” also used rough talk and called out Trump and others who they didn’t agree with. If you think that disqualifies someone from POTUS then enjoy all of the “silver-tongued” ex-pot smoker and ex-coke-snorter Obamas, those of your opinion will allow in office.

    I am sure you watch late night comedy, as choir boy Cruz admittedly does, as they throw mud at Trump. The thing is Trump knows how to throw it back at them & politicians who throw insults at him. Just because Trump is better at it doesn’t make Trump unqualified or a bad person. In fact he hardly ever uses profanity. Yet you still object.

    again says more about you then me.

    here are other more interesting examples:

    Ulysses S. Grant’s comment on James A. Garfield: “[He] is not possessed of the backbone of an angleworm.”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, when asked if his veep, Richard Nixon, had contributed any major ideas to Ike’s presidency: “If you give me a week, I might think of one.”

    Thomas Jefferson on John Adams: “A blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

    John’s son John Quincy Adams on Thomas Jefferson: “A slur upon the moral government of the world.”

    Benjamin Harrison was nicknamed “The Human Iceberg”.

    James Buchanan lived for 15 years with a senator, and Andrew Jackson dubbed them “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy.”

    ————————–
    Pimp is not a new word; it has been used in English since at least 1600 to refer to a criminal who facilitates liaisons with a prostitute. It has never been considered a polite word. So there was a certain degree of astonishment when, in 1855, Kenneth Rayner (a former Congressman from North Carolina) gave a speech in which he referred to President Franklin Pierce as one such creature:

    “The minions of power are watching you, to be turned out by the pimp of the White House if you refuse to sustain him. A man sunk so low we can hardly hate. We have nothing but disgust, pity, and contempt.”
    —The Weekly Standard [Raleigh, NC], 4 July 1855

    ——————————
    One might possibly assume that the 19th century was in fact a more polite political climate than today, and so a thing such as calling a candidate’s mother a prostitute would be out of bounds. One would be wrong. The Cincinnati Gazette was reported to have published, in 1828, an article which alleged this very thing.

    “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterwards married a mulatto man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!”

    Additionally, supporters of Jackson’s opponent, John Quincy Adams, drew attention to the fact that when Jackson married his wife Rachel, she had not technically been divorced from her previous husband, and called her an adulteress.

    cheers and good night

    Where Eagles Dare (8f562c)

  130. Yes when you take the long view and assume history didn’t start this year o even this decade:
    https://www.amazon.com/President-Apprentice-Eisenhower-Nixon-1952-1961/dp/0300181051

    narciso (d1f714)

  131. Have you seen a normalization of mindless alpha-male silliness since Trump became a candidate

    No.

    If anything, post-Weinmstein, it is really headed in the other direction.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)


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