You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump: He’s the anti-Mitt Romney.
Remember how spooked Ol’ Mittens was any time the Main Stream Media squealed at something he said? Remember when he endorsed “self-deportation”?—a perfectly sensible and humane concept. If we rigorously enforce the people’s laws on immigration, then illegal aliens won’t be able to get jobs, so they’ll go back to their countries of origin—self-deportation. Well, maybe they will and maybe they won’t, but the MSM spun it as cattle wagons rolling to the gas chambers. Mittens scurried for cover, and we heard no more about self-deportation.
That sure isn’t Trump’s style. Last Wednesday, The Donald told a rally that Barack Obama was the founder of ISIS. The following morning, on Hugh Hewitt‘s radio show, Hewitt [Email him] tackled him on that.
Clip: Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.
HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.
DT: I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay? [Transcript]
Personally, speaking as a professional writer with some dedication to the precise meaning of words, I’m shaking my head listening to that.
But then I reflect on how utterly un-Romneyish it is, And I further reflect on the fact that Romney’s Midwestern niceness was so uninspiring that millions of working-class white Americans who might have swung the election for him thought their time would be better spent staying home and watching Celebrity Apprentice instead.
Trump’s a smart guy. I know, he started with a family business; but he expanded that business a hundredfold. That takes smarts. Perhaps he’s just treating the media the way his base thinks they should be treated, and exposing their general level of Leftist hysteria.
Did I mention that Romney lost? Against an inevitably hostile media, it’s time a candidate tried something different.
Which brings me to Peggy Noonan’s column last weekend. Title, at any rate in the New York Post version, Don In The Dumps. Subtitle: “The polls are in. Americans think Trump is Crazy.”
I always make time for Peggy’s columns. Yeah, yeah, I know: She’s Conservatism, Inc., hardcore Establishment, and missing a lot of the equipment needed to make sense of the world. She has no science or math, probably believes that black underachievement is the result of wrong parenting practices, or not enough religion.
She writes well, though, and she sure knows her way round that Establishment she’s a member of. She has more self-awareness than the average Conservatism, Inc. apologist, and occasionally offers penetrating insights into the mentality and workings of the GOP elite.
Peggy gave us the full GOP-Establishment disdain for Trump. He’s boorish; he acts like he’s insane; he’s not serious about running for President; he can’t process advice—Peggy means, of course, advice from Establishment types like herself and, oh, to pick a name at random … Mitt Romney. He’s shown disrespect to his own supporters, who’ve put themselves on the line for him. Hey, Peggy, we can handle it, don’t worry. And so on.
But then Peggy delivered one of those penetrating insights. Money quote, about three-quarters of the way through:
From what I’ve seen there has been zero reflection on the part of Republican leaders on how much the base’s views differ from theirs and what to do about it. The GOP is not at all refiguring its stands.
That again, to recycle my favorite Pat Buchananism, is right down the smokestack.
The veteran French diplomat Talleyrand is supposed to have said, concerning the kings of France’s Bourbon dynasty who were reinstalled by the allies after Napoleon’s defeat, quote: “They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.”
Just so with the GOP. They learned nothing from Romney’s failure in 2012; and they have learned nothing from Donald Trump’s success in this year’s primaries.
As for forgetting nothing: Well, if we are positing a Trump defeat in November here and making an analogy with the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons, the main thing the Bourbons couldn’t forget was the reign of their man Louis XIV in the decades before 1715, when France was the politically, militarily, and culturally dominant power in Europe.
This is a different country from the America of 1980, though. Most notably, it’s less white, thanks to mass Third World immigration. Ronald Reagan himself couldn’t with a Presidential election in today’s America. He most surely couldn’t get elected Governor of California. [Peter Brimelow disagrees].
Yes, Trump might fail in November and the GOP Establishment might regain power over the party. Things won’t be as they were before, though. They never are. Too much will have changed. The GOP elites will just be going through the motions, like the Bourbons after Napoleon.
Does Donald Trump have any nephews? I’ll check and get back to you …
Breaking news: I wrote the above before I’d read Peggy Noonan’s column of thisweekend.
I’m glad I cut Peggy some slack. Reading her column this weekend (How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen—subtitle “Those in power see people at the bottom as aliens whose bizarre emotions they must try to manage,” WSJ, August 11, 2016)—I see that she really does get it.
Peggy doesn’t make it easy to read her columns online without a subscription. That’s understandable and I respect it. You can’t expect everyone to be as free with the productions of their minds as we here at VDARE.com. It’s an important column, though, so with the hope that Peggy won’t sue me, I’ll give you a long quote from the very end:
Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.
I close with a story that I haven’t seen in the mainstream press. This week the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reported that recent Syrian refugees being resettled in Virginia, were sent to the state’s poorest communities. Data from the State Department showed that almost all Virginia’s refugees since October “have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.” Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital. The suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington—among the wealthiest in the nation, and home to high concentrations of those who create, and populate, government and the media—have received only nine refugees.
Some of the detachment isn’t unconscious. Some of it is sheer and clever self-protection. At least on some level they can take care of their own.
I urge you to read the whole column. I especially urge you to do so if you are a decision-maker at the Republican National Committee. Peggy gets it.
From what I’ve been seeing so far in your response to the Donald Trump phenomenon, you guys don’t.
And neither, needless to say, does Mitt Romney.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by VDARE.com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived atJohnDerbyshire.com.