RUSH: During the break at the top of the hour, I came across the latest piece by Victor Davis Hanson writing at National Review. It is a long piece. It prints out to six pages. That pretty much makes it bordering on impossible for me to share the whole thing. I mean, I could do it, I mean, I could read all six pages and I could have you transfixed, but it’s still long. I haven’t had a chance to highlight it, which I always do, pick pull quotes, excerpts, and so forth.
Let me tell you what it’s about. It’s about Trump and Hillary and where principled conservatives find themselves, which is not a good place. Principled conservatives are having a real tough time with all of this. And principled conservatives are worried that the ultimate end of this is the elimination of conservatism as a — I don’t want to say dominant, maybe even relevant force in American politics. In fact, there’s a piece here by Josh Barro writing at Business Insider that deals with that very thing, the crisis in the Republican Party is even worse than it looks. I’ll share that with you in a minute here.
But the VDH thing, I’m gonna read this, I’m gonna summarize it when I have time to do it. But his basic premise is that it’s kind of strange that we’re worried about Armageddon being brought on by Trump, when we’re living the apocalypse of Obama and Clinton. Now, this is something I think Trump supporters have already figured out, and I think a lot of people instinctively have come across it, or had it reflected in their minds as they ponder all of this. It certainly spells it out for me. In fact, grab sound bite number five. I was gonna skip past this because I couldn’t find any reason for it to relate to anything other than me being discussed in the media, but actually it now plays off of the VDH thing really well.
You will remember this because it’s by no means the first time I’ve expressed it. Whenever I run across Republicans out there just bellyaching about Trump and losing their minds over Trump, like last Friday when I summarized for you the genuine fatalistic “it’s overism” out there in so many different sectors of American conservatism. I read excerpts of some of these pieces to illustrate, and I asked, “Where was all this during Obama? Where’s all this rage? Where’s all this anger at stuff that actually is happening and has been happening for seven and a half years?”
We haven’t had any anger of the sort from the Republican establishment that’s being directed at Trump. This is not a defense of Trump, by the way. I’m not saying any of this from a pro-Trump position here. I’m simply observing. And it has amazed me. To this day, folks, to be bluntly honest with you, I remain really surprised I had nobody joining sides with me on January 16th of 2009 when I said, “I hope he fails.” When I was telling the story about the Wall Street Journal wanting a 400 word op-ed from a bunch of people on their hopes and expectations of Obama’s presidency.
“I don’t need all that, I can do it in four words: I hope he fails.”
And I got nobody joining me. I got some on my side attempting to explain it, but they wouldn’t join me. And I had a cacophony of people saying, “That’s outrageous. You don’t say that. We should all unify behind our president. We should all come together. Nobody wants our president to fail, because nobody wants our country to fail.”
I said, “You’re missing the point. I want Obama to fail because I want America to survive. I want Obama to fail because I don’t want progressivism and liberalism to win.” What’s so hard about this? I got no joiners. As I say, I had some who defended me on it, but there wasn’t an echo, and there wasn’t a chorus. And I, to this day, remain surprised because I thought that it was a very principled, conservative position to have, to hope liberalism fails. I mean, to me, that’s what this is all about. Meaning this program.
What this program’s been all about is attempting to educate, inform people of the pitfalls and the dangers of liberalism, progressivism, socialism, the left, or what have you. And we knew enough about Obama weeks before he was inaugurated and know exactly what was going to happen with his administration because he had told us. For example, he told us he was going to shut down the coal industry by making it impossibly expensive to stay in it. He told us that he was going to slither his way to single payer health care. He told us that he was going to do what he could to transform the very identity and makeup of this country, and I said, “Why isn’t there any not just outrage, why aren’t people frightened by this?”
I was. I was scared to death of what President Obama intended to do, and it wasn’t just because I know who liberals are and what they’re gonna do; he had said so, in numerous interviews going all the way back to the early 2000s, not to mention the things he had said in the campaign. Not to mention the Jeremiah Wrights and the Bill Ayers and the people that were his friends. It was all there, every bit of it was foretold. So, to me, it was only natural to say, “I hope he fails.” So, likewise, I have been amazed throughout these entire seven and a half years that there’s been all kinds of outrage that members of the Republican Party express for other Republicans or conservatives, but I haven’t heard anything in any kind of proportion whatsoever aimed at Obama. And now Hillary.
Even during the IRS scandal, even during Obamacare, from the establishment. Sure, there was a conservative media that was all over this stuff, but from the standpoint of anybody else, where was the outrage? And this outrage at Trump, to me, has always been out of proportion. This fear, this shouting of the dangers Trump represents. What the hell do you think we’re living through is?
Anyway, that’s the point of Victor Davis Hanson’s long piece here at National Review. We’re worried about Armageddon on the Trump horizon while we’re living amid the apocalypse of Obama and Clinton. It’s a brilliant piece. And you know why you’ll say it’s brilliant? It’s because it’s so obvious. It’s once again somebody cutting through all the noise and getting to the meat and potatoes of what’s happened.
RUSH: Victor Davis Hanson. Let me briefly summarize this for you. This is the first pass, so we’ll have more detail later. At first glance, I’m telling you, the thing appeared brilliant to me. I haven’t had a chance to really read and study this as I do most things. But here’s a basic summary. And his point is that, you know, we’re worried about Armageddon with Trump because Trump’s clueless and Trump doesn’t know anything, and Trump’s a neophyte. We’re worried about Armageddon, when we’re living the apocalypse right now with Obama and Hillary, who don’t know anything, either!
Everything they do is wrong, and dangerous.
So what VDH is saying here is that Trump’s cluelessness — and he’s acknowledging that Trump is clueless on some things. I will get into detail of specifically what. But, you know, all these flip-flops on the minimum wage and tax increases. Tax increases on the rich or not on the rich, that Trump’s just rolling the dice as he goes. Trump’s cluelessness about the nuclear triad. That’s from a debate. He got a question from Hugh Hewitt about the nuclear triad, and Trump didn’t know what it was.
You could tell he didn’t know what it was, and Hugh Hewitt can tell he didn’t know what it was, Hugh Hewitt kind of let him off easy, respecting the fact that a guy was running for president. He didn’t expose him ’cause… I’m sure Hugh thought that he had exposed him, but he didn’t know what the nuclear triad was. He was being asked to comment on it, and to anybody who knows what the triad is, it was — I don’t know — embarrassing or disquieting or a little concerning. Do you know what the nuclear triad is? (interruption) You do? (interruption) Yes, you do. (interruption) What do you mean, you don’t know what the nuclear triad is?
The nuclear triad refers to the three different ways you can launch the SOBs. You can launch ’em from the Trident submarines under the ocean. You can launch ’em from ground based silos, and you can launch ’em from airborne aircraft. The triad, three different ways of delivering nukes. Trump didn’t know.
So Victor Davis Hanson says: “Trump’s cluelessness about the nuclear triad is a lowbrow version of Barack Obama’s ignorance, whether seeking to Hispanicize the Falklands into the Maldives.” The Falklands are referred to by Argentines as the Maldives, not as Obama said the Maldives, “or mispronouncing ‘corpsman,’ or riffing about Austrian-speaking Austrians,” or the 57 states. I mean, his point is that all of these things that you are worried that Trump doesn’t know, Obama is it in spades.
Obama is just as clueless about a lot of things, happily and proudly so. So all these people getting upset that Trump didn’t know about the nuclear triad, how about Obama not knowing how to pronounce “corpsmen” or thinking there are 57 states “or riffing about those Austrian-speaking Austrians; or perhaps of Hillary Clinton’s flat-out lie about the causes of Benghazi, hours after she had learned the truth.
“It is easy to be appalled by crude ignorance, but in some ways it is more appalling to hear ignorance layered and veneered with liberal pieties and snobbery. The choice in 2016 is not just between Trump, the supposed foreign-policy dunce, and an untruthful former secretary of state, but is also a matter of how you prefer your obtuseness — raw or cooked? Who has done the greater damage to the nation: would-be novelist and Obama insider Ben Rhodes, who boasted about out-conning the ‘Blob’ D.C. establishment, or bare-knuckles Trumpster Corey Lewandowski?”
Now, Hanson’s point is, Lewandowski has this dustup with a reporterette, and everybody goes ape and wants to put the guy in jail, wants charges, wants a criminal trial, wants the guy fired, wants the guy strung up. They want Trump disqualified for having such a thug. Meanwhile, we learn that we’ve got a guy lying to the American media but who we are negotiating a nuclear deal with with Iran. Speaking of which we’ve got a guy, Lewandowski, supposedly should be prosecuted, put in jail for grabbing a reporter by the arm.
Meanwhile, we just got an administration here who’s seen to it that the Iranians are gonna have a nuclear bomb. So Hanson, where is the sense of proportion? You think Trump’s an idiot, you think he’s got thugs working for him and it’s gonna be bad? What about what we have had to endure the last seven years and where has been the proportionate outrage? Exactly my point.
And then he points out here in his piece that over the next six months Trump could, not necessarily will, but could reinvent himself into something more responsible, could promise solid conservative appointments, like Cruz to the Supreme Court, John Bolton to state, Larry Arnn of Hillsdale as education sec, things like this are things that Republicans ought to be working with Trump on to try to make happen.
And even if we think if Trump does it, that it’s a naked ploy to get our votes, we still have to ask, isn’t a naked ploy from Trump better than Hillary Clinton? See, Victor Davis Hanson’s coming from the exact place I am: Hillary Clinton, you can’t do worse. You’re not even on the same thing field. This lesser of two evils thing doesn’t even apply, because nobody gets close to the depths of incompetence and depravity and danger posed by another four years of the same crap that we’ve had the last seven and a half.
I had a little bit more time here to study the Victor Davis Hanson piece that I admittedly lauded prior to having read all of it. It started out and it had some brilliant premises. Here’s the nut of it.
The nut of it is that we’re already in dire straits and we’ve been in dire straits for an entire year, and all this talk about what dire straits are yet to come kind of misses the point. There’s a sense of proportion here that’s missing in all this panic and fatalism over Trump. Where is it with what is being done to us right now and for the last 7-1/2 years? But his point is, we know what we’re gonna get with Hillary and there’s nothing redeeming about it and there’s no way it’s gonna change. There’s literally no way who she is is going to change.
We can make book on what we’re gonna get if she wins the election. His point is with Trump, there’s still six months or some months, a few months to go here before the election, and he mentions that there are opportunities here for those who want to try to take Trump in different directions that he might instinctively go or what have you. Look, he’s trying to be positive. I appreciate that. I don’t think being positive is necessarily absent reality. A lot of people do, but I don’t. I mean, there’s some lost causes, otherwise we wouldn’t have St. Jude.
But still, I also think that one of the things Mr. Hanson is attempting to do with his piece here is to talk some people off the ledge and say: Back off for a minute here. We’ve got a little time here before… I mean, you’re writing about all this as though everything is etched in stone, nothing’s gonna change, it’s only gonna get worse, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. And as I say, some are gonna say that that’s unrealistic, that that’s phony optimism, and it has no place because we’ve gotta be brutally honest with ourselves about who Trump is and what we face.
And his point is, “No, not yet. It’s not over. There’s still lots of time here left.” I think it’s admirable, trying to talk people off of a ledge, if you want to put it that way. But being fatalistic, nobody knows what’s gonna happen in this election today. The idea that we’re gonna lose and lose big — and a lot of people think so, and it’s not totally fatalism. I mean, they’re looking at polling data, and they’re looking at other data, which suggests that Trump’s wildly unpopular with a bunch of different groups of people, wildly unpopular among some Republicans.
You’ve got this push for the third party out there among establishment types. And if they succeed, then all the rest of it’s academic. So, I mean, there’s some genuine challenges out there. But I would side with Mr. Hanson here, at least on his intentions and his motivations.