It is a helluva thing when a bitter old Conservative gnome whose primary claims to fame for the last 127 years have been a seething contempt of any person or policy to the left of Augusto Pinochet and a firm grasp of 18th Century science...
...can only manage to claw his way back into national prominence and respectability by ripping off the core Liberal critique of his Conservative movement, sanding off its icky Liberal pedigree, and passing it off as the Cutting Edge of Serious Conservative thinking...
George Will in the Washington Post:
Trump has a dangerous disability
Library shelves groan beneath the weight of books asking questions about that war’s origins, so who, one wonders, are these “people” who don’t ask the questions that Trump evidently thinks have occurred to him uniquely? Presumably they are not the astute “lot of,” or at least “some,” people Trump referred to when speaking about his February address to a joint session of Congress: “A lot of people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.” Which demotes Winston Churchill, among many others.
What is most alarming (and mortifying to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated) is not that Trump has entered his eighth decade unscathed by even elementary knowledge about the nation’s history. As this column has said before, the problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.
... About such things he can be, if he is willing to be, tutored. It is, however, too late to rectify this defect: He lacks what T.S. Eliot called a sense “not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.” His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.
Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances. So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.
"Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind..."?
No, George. Republicans have done this thing. Your Republican Party has done this incredibly dangerous and reckless thing. Because over the past 30 years, well-heeled highbinders like you have carefully engineered the base of your Republican Party to be just like President Stupid.
A "limitless gullibility"?
A "disorderly mind" that is constantly "blown about by gusts of factoids"?
A "fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present"?
This is a description of your Tea Party, George. Of the evangelical Right. Of the paranoid guun-huggers and anti-science climate liars. And nakedly pandering to this demographic is the f*cking business model of Fox News and Hate Radio and Regnery Press and...and...and...
You are not describing a Black Swan, one-man catastrophe, George, you are describing the tens of millions of reprogrammable meatheads who make up the base of your Republican Party. Or to quote a bloated, shitty science fiction novel with which I know you are familiar:
You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection.
Oh, and one more thing.
The fact that George Will and many other life-long, ride-or-die Conservatives are now openly aping our very own Liberal critique of his Conservative movement is not a victory for the Left. Quite the opposite: this is just one more step in the complete unpersoning of the Left.
Because on one hand, Conservative hacks like George Will clearly have no moral objection to the existence of the tens of millions of reprogrammable Republican meatheads that their party spent so much time and money creating -- they merely object to the crass, non-George-Will-approved way in which President Stupid hijacked those reprogrammable Republican meatheads
But on the other hand, the existence of President Stupid traps Conservative hacks like George Will in an ideological box where the risk of accidentally acknowledging that the Left has been right about the Right all along lurks around every corner. And within the Beltway, that acknowledgement actually presents a much more immediate and terrifying existential threat to the Beltway media/pundit ecosystem than the existence of President Stupid. Because acknowledging that the Left has been right about the Right would not only utterly ruin the Right, but would also put the Right's most stalwart enablers -- the entire staff of the High and Holy Church of Both Siderism -- out of business forever.
No more David Brooks or David Frum. No more Michael Gerson or Michael Steele or Matthew Dowd or Ron Fournier or Charlie Sykes or Rick Wilson or Hugh Hewitt or David Gregory or Jeffrey Lord or Joe Walsh or Kayleigh McEnany or Paris Dennard or Andrew Sullivan or George Will...or...or...or...
POTUS radio would be bankrupt in an hour.
MSNBC would have to replace "Morning Joe" with three hours of Cialis commercials and CNN would have to rerun old Perter Arnett footage from 1991 --
-- until they figured out how to program this brave new world.
Fox News would finally, completely become what it always wanted to be -- the "White Power Hotline" with zoomy graphics -- but no one would ever sit next to them in the Beltway Elite Media cafeteria again.
And since this cannot be allowed to happen, it therefore follows that Liberals cannot be allowed to have been right about the Right all along. We can only be permitted to exist as handy, mockable, straw men for dried-up Conservative husks like George Will to punch when they're hard up for a column:
In 2013, the face of progressivism became Pajama Boy, the supercilious, semi-smirking, hot-chocolate-sipping faux-adult who embodies progressives’ belief that life should be all politics all the time — come on, everybody, spend your holidays talking about health care. He is who progressives are.
*From the late David Broder -- the First Pope of the High and Holy Church of Both Siderism -- back in 2006:
Now, however, you can see the independence party forming -- on both sides of the aisle. They are mobilizing to resist not only Bush but also the extremist elements in American society -- the vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left and the doctrinaire religious extremists on the right who would convert their faith into a whipping post for their opponents.
Crossposted from Driftglass