Against Trump

“If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives?”

The National Review (a Conservative publication) launches an all-out salvo against Donald Trump. Because after welcoming him into their fold, in order to get attention, they realized that he is an idiot in wolf’s clothing.

John McCain is to blame for this. He’s the one that made it acceptable for a mainstream party to select someone on the presidential ticket so blatantly unqualified to hold any public office that it was laughable. Yet the Republicans just don’t see how bad things are. (And that same poor excuse for a once-politician has endorsed Trump…)

Though to be fair, the Conservative movement long fostered the type of hatred and divisiveness that Trump is now exploiting, through their support of obnoxious talk radio complainers and TV “news” anchors (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News), many of whom ranted about the same things that Trump is, offering the same populist solutions. Yet the Conservative movement never denounced those talking heads as not being true Conservatives, but rather embraced them, less for their ideas than for their ability to move the masses. (This is the same right-wing media that was happy to promote Trump’s paranoid-lunatic “birther” theories about Barack Obama.)

There’s something cult-like in the embrace of Conservatism in this series of articles from the National Review, with one author even talking about her “conversion” moment. This cult-like approach to politics makes it too easy to be drawn into groupthink, and they’re now seeing the result of their long strategy of attempting to sway the American people with such an approach. They indoctrinated the people with divisiveness and lies, and now, when someone comes along and exploits these same gullible people, they shudder in fear.

He presents himself as a Strong Man who promises to knock heads and make things right again. In this, he has a lot more in common with South American populist demagogues than with our tradition of political leaders.

But I suppose that’s the reason for his popularity. The middle-class consensus in America has collapsed. This is the most important political and social earthquake since World War II. The conservative movement’s leadership isn’t up to the challenge, and a good number of voters are willing to gamble on Trump’s bluster. Bad bet. Our nation’s solidarity is being tested. It will only make things worse if we go Trumpster diving.

Yes, the Republican party and the 1% – the Conservatives – have essentially eliminated the middle class in the United States, and this is the result. There is a lot of anger, and Trump is exploiting it.

I generally avoid politics on this site, but what’s happening in the US is simply beyond the pale. Trump is such a racist, his policies are so ridiculous, that it’s hard to think he isn’t a satire. (And this just after Jon Stewart retired from the Daily Show… I can’t help think there’s a connection between the two.)

But it’s probably too late. The Republicans will most likely nominate Trump (or, even worse, Ted Cruz), and hopefully get trounced in the general election, because the vast majority of Conservatives just aren’t stupid enough to vote for him. I hope.

Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.

This moment of clarity from the National Review doesn’t obscure the divisive, hate-filled articles about politics that fill their pages and their website. They realize the danger that is facing them, but perhaps it is too late.

Source: Donald Trump — Conservative Movement Shouldn’t Support Him

36 thoughts on “Against Trump

    • That’s a complicated question. Depending on who you ask, the economy either sucks or is doing well. But it’s pretty much the same in the US; unemployment is low, but many of the jobs don’t pay much. At least we have universal, single-payer health care, something that most US politicians refuse to consider because of lobbying from very powerful organizations.

      Yes, Bernie is in favor of it; finally someone who has a chance of changing the conversation. I don’t know if he can win, and, if he does, if he can get anything through congress, but at least people will discuss it.

    • That’s a complicated question. Depending on who you ask, the economy either sucks or is doing well. But it’s pretty much the same in the US; unemployment is low, but many of the jobs don’t pay much. At least we have universal, single-payer health care, something that most US politicians refuse to consider because of lobbying from very powerful organizations.

      Yes, Bernie is in favor of it; finally someone who has a chance of changing the conversation. I don’t know if he can win, and, if he does, if he can get anything through congress, but at least people will discuss it.

  1. “the Conservative movement long fostered the type of hatred and divisiveness that Trump is now exploiting, through their support of obnoxious talk radio complainers and TV “news” anchors (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News), many of whom ranted about the same things that Trump is”

    Has anyone played a more constructive role in the Anglosphere political dialog over the past few decades than Rupert Murdoch?

    (The crucial moment in the current campaign, IMHO, was in the first GOP debate when Fox blasted all their big guns at Trump, and Trump won the battle unscathed. Same basic ideology/propaganda, but Rupert prefers dog-whistles, and Trump prefers air-horns.)

    • Yes, good point about Murdoch. He has set the tone, both in the UK and the US, for sleazy journalism.

  2. “the Conservative movement long fostered the type of hatred and divisiveness that Trump is now exploiting, through their support of obnoxious talk radio complainers and TV “news” anchors (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News), many of whom ranted about the same things that Trump is”

    Has anyone played a more constructive role in the Anglosphere political dialog over the past few decades than Rupert Murdoch?

    (The crucial moment in the current campaign, IMHO, was in the first GOP debate when Fox blasted all their big guns at Trump, and Trump won the battle unscathed. Same basic ideology/propaganda, but Rupert prefers dog-whistles, and Trump prefers air-horns.)

    • Yes, good point about Murdoch. He has set the tone, both in the UK and the US, for sleazy journalism.

  3. This is why I only read Apple guys for Apple stuff. You’re incoherent when it comes to politics. All of you.

  4. This is why I only read Apple guys for Apple stuff. You’re incoherent when it comes to politics. All of you.

  5. I agree with smith. Kirk, do you read National Review regularly? Do you really know their positions over time? I subscribe to both the liberal The American Prospect and National Review and learn from both. As for hate and divisiveness, liberals don’t see it in their own, from the smooth talking Obama who calls anyone who disagrees with him un-American to those liberals who don’t want to debate issues but simply want to shut up those who disagree with them. I have lived in San Francisco and Seattle, was faculty at a major university for many years, and have also lived in the South, and from my experience liberals are no more tolerant than conservatives, mostly because in getting their information from the major media and from taxpayer-supported NPR and only talking to each other they do not even know there are other points of view.

  6. I agree with smith. Kirk, do you read National Review regularly? Do you really know their positions over time? I subscribe to both the liberal The American Prospect and National Review and learn from both. As for hate and divisiveness, liberals don’t see it in their own, from the smooth talking Obama who calls anyone who disagrees with him un-American to those liberals who don’t want to debate issues but simply want to shut up those who disagree with them. I have lived in San Francisco and Seattle, was faculty at a major university for many years, and have also lived in the South, and from my experience liberals are no more tolerant than conservatives, mostly because in getting their information from the major media and from taxpayer-supported NPR and only talking to each other they do not even know there are other points of view.

  7. I can’t see any place for a racist leader in any country, anywhere in the world. This is a multi-faith, multi-race and multi-cultural world. I happen to like it this way. I wish that the human race would grow up.

  8. I can’t see any place for a racist leader in any country, anywhere in the world. This is a multi-faith, multi-race and multi-cultural world. I happen to like it this way. I wish that the human race would grow up.

  9. This piece perfectly encapsulates the views of someone who doesn’t know anything about National Review or its views.

    I urge you to pick up an issue and flip through it. You many not find much to agree with. But you’ll see that National Review magazine does not publish views that can reasonably be called hateful. Its rhetoric is no less civilized (and often more civilized) than its peers on the American Left (e.g., The New Republic, The Nation, Mother Jones).

    NRs editors have never supported Trump, although they have entertained debate in its pages as to whether his campaign is good for conservatism or not. It is not fair to say that they embraced him and now do not.

    Read up. In the meantime, stick to technology, please.

    • While writing the article, I browsed a number of articles on the NR’s website. It’s Fox News lite. It’s the same type of hatred of Obama and progressives, just painted with a bit less vehemence. The magazine itself might be a bit different from the website, and I would hope so. But the website isn’t a bastion of intellectualism. (And, frankly, some of the stuff about Trump is quite hateful, but I noticed that several of the articles about Trump took time out to bash Obama.)

  10. This piece perfectly encapsulates the views of someone who doesn’t know anything about National Review or its views.

    I urge you to pick up an issue and flip through it. You many not find much to agree with. But you’ll see that National Review magazine does not publish views that can reasonably be called hateful. Its rhetoric is no less civilized (and often more civilized) than its peers on the American Left (e.g., The New Republic, The Nation, Mother Jones).

    NRs editors have never supported Trump, although they have entertained debate in its pages as to whether his campaign is good for conservatism or not. It is not fair to say that they embraced him and now do not.

    Read up. In the meantime, stick to technology, please.

    • While writing the article, I browsed a number of articles on the NR’s website. It’s Fox News lite. It’s the same type of hatred of Obama and progressives, just painted with a bit less vehemence. The magazine itself might be a bit different from the website, and I would hope so. But the website isn’t a bastion of intellectualism. (And, frankly, some of the stuff about Trump is quite hateful, but I noticed that several of the articles about Trump took time out to bash Obama.)

  11. Congratulations on doing some background research. (Seriously.)

    The website is indeed more cavalier than the magazine, which is why I made my pretty categorical statement about the magazine instead. Web sites’ immediacy sometimes leads to less considered statements, which is true of all sites left and right. (I read both and get frustrated with incendiary rhetoric on both.)

    I’d be interested in your examples of hatred, because I think we have different operating definitions–examples that differ substantially from anything you’d see at the New Republic (in my view the best analog over time,though it’s quality has diminished in the Hughes era.)

    Please do not to confuse mere frustration, annoyance, and vehement sustained disagreement with hate. Inaccurately calling it “hate” enables you to ignore it, but that is the worst thing to do with a challenging idea.

    Best wishes.

  12. Congratulations on doing some background research. (Seriously.)

    The website is indeed more cavalier than the magazine, which is why I made my pretty categorical statement about the magazine instead. Web sites’ immediacy sometimes leads to less considered statements, which is true of all sites left and right. (I read both and get frustrated with incendiary rhetoric on both.)

    I’d be interested in your examples of hatred, because I think we have different operating definitions–examples that differ substantially from anything you’d see at the New Republic (in my view the best analog over time,though it’s quality has diminished in the Hughes era.)

    Please do not to confuse mere frustration, annoyance, and vehement sustained disagreement with hate. Inaccurately calling it “hate” enables you to ignore it, but that is the worst thing to do with a challenging idea.

    Best wishes.

  13. I agree with Matt and have some further questions and comments. I was going to write to ask if you had read enough of National Review to have an informed opinion but I wonder if you did. Online, the magazine National Review is behind a paywall. Did you pay to read back issues of the magazine? Or did you read National Review Online, which is not the magazine but rather is a collection of short opinion pieces by conservatives hosted by National Review. NRO does not pretend to give any in-depth treatment of issues and which, yes, can have some overwrought writers, much like some liberal websites. I subscribe to both the liberal The American Prospect and National Review and learn a lot from both. Why don’t you take out a trial subscription to National Review? Or Commentary? Or for much longer articles you can read online, look at National Affairs. Neither right nor left have all the answers I can assure you.

    Nor is all the hate and divisiveness on one side. Have you forgotten how the Left treated Bush, to take just one example? I have lived in the very liberal San Francisco and Seattle, was faculty at a major university for many years, and from my experience liberals are no more tolerant than conservatives.

    • I’m surprised that the website apparently has a different tone than the magazine itself. That is certainly a mistake for the brand.

      I agree that the insults against Bush were inappropriate. But the hatred and anger against Obama — partly hidden racism — is a lot stronger from the right in general than it ever was against Bush.

      • There is no stronger dislike of Pres. Obama than there was of Pres. Bush. You acknowledge some of this, to your credit, so I won’t belabor it except to remind you of the drumbeat “BUSHITLER!” signs at the Iraq protests and the intemperate “Why I Hate George Bush” cover story at the New Republic in 2003.

        Given that this is the state of humanity–we can be carried away by emotions–it shouldn’t be surprising that some similarly intemperate statements occur on the right when the party in power switches.

        But the notion that racism–“hidden racism”–drives the dislike of Pres. Obama in the rights world of ideas (e.g., National Review) is groundless and inaccurate. It’s half a smear, and half an excuse that is again meant to define people out of the debate.

        The right opposed President Clinton when they perceived him as “socializing medicine” in 1994. They opposed President Obama when they perceived him to do the same in 2010. The race of the president has nothing to do with it.

        Far from being racists, the right adores Clarence Thomas, was ecstatic about George W. Bush’s appointments of Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice, and have desperately sought a black man to elect President–the under qualified Herman Cain and Dr. Carson being the latest examples. Rising stars like Mia Love in Congress are darlings of the right.

        Meanwhile–such racism as there is (and there is some) is not a mainly right-wing phenomena. Just look at the racist cartoons of Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condaleeza Rice that run in left wing publications, denouncing them as Uncle Toms, not real blacks, and as sub-par intellects. You will find no more virulent exhibits on the right than the left.

        So, to summarize, I’m sure we have many disagreements, which of course is fine. You have broad cultural interests (Shakespeare, Dylan, modern “classical”, etc.) and are a genuinely interesting person, which is why I read your blog. We’d probably have very interesting policy discussions.

        But I recoil against those who believe the right side of the fence is particularly “hateful” or “racist.” These terms are just “virtue signaling” posturing, and excuses that are uncharacteristic of someone of your breadth.

        I’ll read any response you might offer, but I won’t belabor it any longer. I just wanted to make this point. Best wishes.

        • Disagree with you on two points here, the first one being that the hatred of Bush and Obama is equal.

          I can’t think of anyway to objectively measure the level of hatred. You supply some anecdotal examples of Bush hatred – for example the BUSHITLER bumper sticker. I or others could provide anecdotal examples of the converse. One should always be skeptical of arguments that defend an action or position by pointing out evidence of the converse and then claiming some kind of equality of the two. Subjectively there I think it is overwhelming that there has been way more hatred of Obama than Bush.

          But let’s go just a bit deeper than that. I was in the anti-Bush camp, so count me as one of the haters if you will. I “hated” his administration because of strong disagreement wth many of his policies and strong dislike for how they were arrived out. Bush himself says his guided by his grounded mortal principles and beliefs more than deep analysis of issues. He and many in the top tier of his administration were neoconservatives who eschewed analysis of the Middle East, Iraq, the Suni-Shitte issue in favor of the ideologically driven belief in the benefits of American power, neoliberal economic principles, and so on. Well documented evidence of this; State Department area experts were pointedly not involved in post war planning.

          What about Obama. Certainly there is much legitimate dislike of some of his policies, by which I mean many people do not want more governmental involvement in health care, for example. I disagree with that, but it is a completely legitimate debate, as it was under Clinton.

          But the difference between hatred of Bush and hatred of Obama is the sheer volume (and sheer idiocy) of conspiracy theories about Obama. He is a muslim, he is not an American, won’t say the pledge of allegiance. Just mind boggling the number of these theories, the percent of people who believe them, and the credence some media give to some of them.

          Go watch Frontline’s 2 hour documentary on Netanyahu. After signing the Oslo accords, Shimon Peres was vehemently attacked by the Israeli right as a Nazi, a new Hitler, all terrible terrible things. I remember at the time I thought that someone was going to try to kill him, *especially* because conservative leaders refused calls to call out some of the despicable things that were said. Result: a right-wing fanatic assassinated him.

          I have read that there have been more threats against Obama than any other President, which makes sense to me. Spew out all these lies about him, and *of course* you will create nutmegs who want to kill this terrible tyrant.

          Secondly, there have been several solid studies that indicate that *some* of the dislike of Obama is race based. This is of course hard to tease out of the data. Check out a good overview here: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/04/it_is_all_still_about_race_obama_hatred_the_south_and_the_truth_about_gop_wins/

          And let’s make a distinction here. Conservatives gleefully point to Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell as examples of their lack of racism. See, here are these 4 or 5 black conservatives in leadership positions, were not racist. No problem there, it is no longer acceptable to be racist in this way.

          But what about some of the policies that some conservatives back. The drive in US States (conservative states) tighten voter registration laws is a total crock of you know what. The level of voter fraud in the US is miniscule. We have *terrible* rates of voter participation. The proposed laws are *intentionally* designed to exclude voters who would tend to vote more democratic than republican – blacks and the poor.

          I live in Kansas (very very red state) where our AG is at the forefront of this effort. It is a disgrace.

          • It’s nice to see some level of civility in political comments on the internet. I have to agree with Mark wholeheartedly. My personal opinion is that it is very difficult for liberal/left wing people to even admit they have a political slant, because most of the media aligns with them on almost any issue — some more subtly than others, but the newsrooms are populated almost entirely by left-wing Democrats. (In fact, The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg has written a whole book on what he perceives as the inability of the left to admit it has a political agenda).

            Bryan, in dismissing anecdotal evidence from Mark about the hatred people had for Bush, you invoke your own pretty vague criteria (sheer number of conspiracy theories)… but I recall theories that Bush had orchestrated 9/11 himself to appease Halliburton, or something. In fact, I’ll never forget that the only time I visited London, in 2007, there was a cadre of people chanting “9/11 was an inside job!” That proves nothing. But it’s indicative that the conspiracy theories flow in both directions as well. I also recall Rosie O’Donnell, the left’s answer to the titanic buffoonery of Trump, questioning whether fire could melt steel because she suspected bombs had been planted in the Twin Towers….

            I also side with Mark in lamenting the left’s inclination to paint every disagreement the right has with Obama with the accusation of racism. As though Republicans wouldn’t have vehemently opposed the same policies in the same ways if a white president proposed them. If Hillary gets elected, you’ll see no difference in the reaction from the right. And there will be only one difference, I predict, in the reaction of the left — any disagreement will now be painted as sexism instead of racism. Our colleges have trained people to see everything through the lens of racism, sexism, ablism, etc., etc. If you buy it, you become a liberal. If you balk at it, you become a conservative.

            Of course there are conservatives who are sexist and racist. But there are probably about as high a proportion of liberals who are, as well. All you have to do is look at the vitriolic reaction to Sarah Palin, which produced some truly nasty misogynist rhetoric from supposed liberals.

            I don’t deny that there is a lot of hatred and contempt and bile in American politics these days. But I think you have to have blinders on to think that it comes only or mainly from one side.

            Anyone who attributes political opponents’ views to prejudice in a blanket fashion pretty much tells me all I need to know about how open his or her mind is. The National Review may espouse some unpopular opinions. But any time I have read their writing, they tend to paint their opponents as wrong on facts or strategy, not disingenuously/unconsciously evil.

            • >It’s nice to see some level of civility in political comments on the internet. I have to agree with Mark >wholeheartedly. My personal opinion is that it is very difficult for liberal/left wing people to even admit they have a >political slant, because most of the media aligns with them on almost any issue — some more subtly than others, >but the newsrooms are populated almost entirely by left-wing Democrats. (In fact, The National Review’s Jonah >Goldberg has written a whole book on what he perceives as the inability of the left to admit it has a political >agenda).

              This thread has been eye opening in some ways to me, at least to better understand the view point of (at least) some conservatives. Would like to comment your well written post.

              I disagree that newsrooms have a general liberal bias. One could say it all just comes from your political beliefs, i.e. liberals think there is a conservative bias and vice-versa. My response is two-fold. First, I don’t want news that is biased toward my opinions, I want news that seeks the truth. I don’t think US news does that as well as other countries. Living in England for a year and a half (albeit twenty years ago) I was impressed with the greater intellectual rigor of the news, even though newspapers were aligned generally with political parties.

              >Bryan, in dismissing anecdotal evidence from Mark about the hatred people had for Bush, you invoke your own >pretty vague criteria (sheer number of conspiracy theories)… but I recall theories that Bush had orchestrated 9/11 >himself to appease Halliburton, or something. In fact, I’ll never forget that the only time I visited London, in 2007, >there was a cadre of people chanting “9/11 was an inside job!” That proves nothing. But it’s indicative that the >conspiracy theories flow in both directions as well. I also recall Rosie O’Donnell, the left’s answer to the titanic >buffoonery of Trump, questioning whether fire could melt steel because she suspected bombs had been planted >in the Twin Towers….

              This was eye-opening, as I never considered the 9/11 conspiracy theorists to be liberal. I did not and do not believe in any of that, it is malarky. I *do* believe the evidence given us by the US and UK governments was politically motivated, which is not really a conspiracy theory. Here is my point of disagreement with you. I do not recall CNN or MSNBC (the “liberal” media) presenting the 9/11 conspiracy theories as newsworthy items over and over for 8 years. However, Fox has given given a considerable amount of coverage to equally idiotic theories about Obama, such as he is not a US citizen, he is a secret Muslim, etc.

              Another odd thing is that you mentioned that your belief that liberals have a propensity to just ignore the facts if they conflict with their ideology. That is of course my contention about right wingers. I guess it may depend on which set of “facts” you believe. My evidence would be the percent of right-wingers who deny climate change. Their opposition in my mind is not based on disputed scientific evidence, but that it conflicts with their ideology. Same with opposition to evolution (and I do not know your stands on these issue, not an attack against you but an argument about ideology versus evidence).

              About Obama and racism. Not all of the rights disagreements with Obama stem from racism, but some do. I have heard one or two people being interviewed on the radio before the last election saying they wouldn’t vote for him because he is black. I just ignore those people, they are hopeless. While I personally do believe there is an element of racism in some opposition to Obama, I think it is a bad argument to be used by liberals against conservatives. I just assume conservatives are arguing on the merits of the position. It is an unfair argument to say well I discount your criticism of Obama because your a racists, or you only hate Hillary because she is woman, etc. I agree with you on this point.

              However, re: Sarah Palin. Oh boy. I don’t care one fig that she is a woman, and I really don’t think the left-wing opposition to her has anything to do with her being a woman, and everything to do with her intellectual rigor (or obvious lack thereof), and I being kind here. She is for liberals the epitome of what we dislike about many right-wingers – this absolute certainty in their beliefs with little or no ability to marshall any arguments for their beliefs. In the “olden” days we had right wingers or conservatives with whom I might disagree but they were damn smart and argued well. William Buckley comes to mind.

              >I don’t deny that there is a lot of hatred and contempt and bile in American politics these days. But I think you >have to have blinders on to think that it comes only or mainly from one side.

              I have my blinders taped to my face then. I DO think the majority of this bile can be blamed on the right. The country as moved *way* to the right over the last 30 years, at the same time as the right has so shrilly yelled about the “liberals” who are in control of everything. Compare our politics to the average in the Western world, and I can think of NO country with more conservative or right-wing policies than the United States.

              And just to make sure you don’t think I am unthinking liberal, I oppose some ideas that are generally considered left-wing. Rent control is counter-productive. I am concerned about immigration. I can list some others as well.

              Anyway, an interesting discussion.

  14. I agree with Matt and have some further questions and comments. I was going to write to ask if you had read enough of National Review to have an informed opinion but I wonder if you did. Online, the magazine National Review is behind a paywall. Did you pay to read back issues of the magazine? Or did you read National Review Online, which is not the magazine but rather is a collection of short opinion pieces by conservatives hosted by National Review. NRO does not pretend to give any in-depth treatment of issues and which, yes, can have some overwrought writers, much like some liberal websites. I subscribe to both the liberal The American Prospect and National Review and learn a lot from both. Why don’t you take out a trial subscription to National Review? Or Commentary? Or for much longer articles you can read online, look at National Affairs. Neither right nor left have all the answers I can assure you.

    Nor is all the hate and divisiveness on one side. Have you forgotten how the Left treated Bush, to take just one example? I have lived in the very liberal San Francisco and Seattle, was faculty at a major university for many years, and from my experience liberals are no more tolerant than conservatives.

    • I’m surprised that the website apparently has a different tone than the magazine itself. That is certainly a mistake for the brand.

      I agree that the insults against Bush were inappropriate. But the hatred and anger against Obama — partly hidden racism — is a lot stronger from the right in general than it ever was against Bush.

      • There is no stronger dislike of Pres. Obama than there was of Pres. Bush. You acknowledge some of this, to your credit, so I won’t belabor it except to remind you of the drumbeat “BUSHITLER!” signs at the Iraq protests and the intemperate “Why I Hate George Bush” cover story at the New Republic in 2003.

        Given that this is the state of humanity–we can be carried away by emotions–it shouldn’t be surprising that some similarly intemperate statements occur on the right when the party in power switches.

        But the notion that racism–“hidden racism”–drives the dislike of Pres. Obama in the rights world of ideas (e.g., National Review) is groundless and inaccurate. It’s half a smear, and half an excuse that is again meant to define people out of the debate.

        The right opposed President Clinton when they perceived him as “socializing medicine” in 1994. They opposed President Obama when they perceived him to do the same in 2010. The race of the president has nothing to do with it.

        Far from being racists, the right adores Clarence Thomas, was ecstatic about George W. Bush’s appointments of Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice, and have desperately sought a black man to elect President–the under qualified Herman Cain and Dr. Carson being the latest examples. Rising stars like Mia Love in Congress are darlings of the right.

        Meanwhile–such racism as there is (and there is some) is not a mainly right-wing phenomena. Just look at the racist cartoons of Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condaleeza Rice that run in left wing publications, denouncing them as Uncle Toms, not real blacks, and as sub-par intellects. You will find no more virulent exhibits on the right than the left.

        So, to summarize, I’m sure we have many disagreements, which of course is fine. You have broad cultural interests (Shakespeare, Dylan, modern “classical”, etc.) and are a genuinely interesting person, which is why I read your blog. We’d probably have very interesting policy discussions.

        But I recoil against those who believe the right side of the fence is particularly “hateful” or “racist.” These terms are just “virtue signaling” posturing, and excuses that are uncharacteristic of someone of your breadth.

        I’ll read any response you might offer, but I won’t belabor it any longer. I just wanted to make this point. Best wishes.

        • Disagree with you on two points here, the first one being that the hatred of Bush and Obama is equal.

          I can’t think of anyway to objectively measure the level of hatred. You supply some anecdotal examples of Bush hatred – for example the BUSHITLER bumper sticker. I or others could provide anecdotal examples of the converse. One should always be skeptical of arguments that defend an action or position by pointing out evidence of the converse and then claiming some kind of equality of the two. Subjectively there I think it is overwhelming that there has been way more hatred of Obama than Bush.

          But let’s go just a bit deeper than that. I was in the anti-Bush camp, so count me as one of the haters if you will. I “hated” his administration because of strong disagreement wth many of his policies and strong dislike for how they were arrived out. Bush himself says his guided by his grounded mortal principles and beliefs more than deep analysis of issues. He and many in the top tier of his administration were neoconservatives who eschewed analysis of the Middle East, Iraq, the Suni-Shitte issue in favor of the ideologically driven belief in the benefits of American power, neoliberal economic principles, and so on. Well documented evidence of this; State Department area experts were pointedly not involved in post war planning.

          What about Obama. Certainly there is much legitimate dislike of some of his policies, by which I mean many people do not want more governmental involvement in health care, for example. I disagree with that, but it is a completely legitimate debate, as it was under Clinton.

          But the difference between hatred of Bush and hatred of Obama is the sheer volume (and sheer idiocy) of conspiracy theories about Obama. He is a muslim, he is not an American, won’t say the pledge of allegiance. Just mind boggling the number of these theories, the percent of people who believe them, and the credence some media give to some of them.

          Go watch Frontline’s 2 hour documentary on Netanyahu. After signing the Oslo accords, Shimon Peres was vehemently attacked by the Israeli right as a Nazi, a new Hitler, all terrible terrible things. I remember at the time I thought that someone was going to try to kill him, *especially* because conservative leaders refused calls to call out some of the despicable things that were said. Result: a right-wing fanatic assassinated him.

          I have read that there have been more threats against Obama than any other President, which makes sense to me. Spew out all these lies about him, and *of course* you will create nutmegs who want to kill this terrible tyrant.

          Secondly, there have been several solid studies that indicate that *some* of the dislike of Obama is race based. This is of course hard to tease out of the data. Check out a good overview here: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/04/it_is_all_still_about_race_obama_hatred_the_south_and_the_truth_about_gop_wins/

          And let’s make a distinction here. Conservatives gleefully point to Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell as examples of their lack of racism. See, here are these 4 or 5 black conservatives in leadership positions, were not racist. No problem there, it is no longer acceptable to be racist in this way.

          But what about some of the policies that some conservatives back. The drive in US States (conservative states) tighten voter registration laws is a total crock of you know what. The level of voter fraud in the US is miniscule. We have *terrible* rates of voter participation. The proposed laws are *intentionally* designed to exclude voters who would tend to vote more democratic than republican – blacks and the poor.

          I live in Kansas (very very red state) where our AG is at the forefront of this effort. It is a disgrace.

          • It’s nice to see some level of civility in political comments on the internet. I have to agree with Mark wholeheartedly. My personal opinion is that it is very difficult for liberal/left wing people to even admit they have a political slant, because most of the media aligns with them on almost any issue — some more subtly than others, but the newsrooms are populated almost entirely by left-wing Democrats. (In fact, The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg has written a whole book on what he perceives as the inability of the left to admit it has a political agenda).

            Bryan, in dismissing anecdotal evidence from Mark about the hatred people had for Bush, you invoke your own pretty vague criteria (sheer number of conspiracy theories)… but I recall theories that Bush had orchestrated 9/11 himself to appease Halliburton, or something. In fact, I’ll never forget that the only time I visited London, in 2007, there was a cadre of people chanting “9/11 was an inside job!” That proves nothing. But it’s indicative that the conspiracy theories flow in both directions as well. I also recall Rosie O’Donnell, the left’s answer to the titanic buffoonery of Trump, questioning whether fire could melt steel because she suspected bombs had been planted in the Twin Towers….

            I also side with Mark in lamenting the left’s inclination to paint every disagreement the right has with Obama with the accusation of racism. As though Republicans wouldn’t have vehemently opposed the same policies in the same ways if a white president proposed them. If Hillary gets elected, you’ll see no difference in the reaction from the right. And there will be only one difference, I predict, in the reaction of the left — any disagreement will now be painted as sexism instead of racism. Our colleges have trained people to see everything through the lens of racism, sexism, ablism, etc., etc. If you buy it, you become a liberal. If you balk at it, you become a conservative.

            Of course there are conservatives who are sexist and racist. But there are probably about as high a proportion of liberals who are, as well. All you have to do is look at the vitriolic reaction to Sarah Palin, which produced some truly nasty misogynist rhetoric from supposed liberals.

            I don’t deny that there is a lot of hatred and contempt and bile in American politics these days. But I think you have to have blinders on to think that it comes only or mainly from one side.

            Anyone who attributes political opponents’ views to prejudice in a blanket fashion pretty much tells me all I need to know about how open his or her mind is. The National Review may espouse some unpopular opinions. But any time I have read their writing, they tend to paint their opponents as wrong on facts or strategy, not disingenuously/unconsciously evil.

            • >It’s nice to see some level of civility in political comments on the internet. I have to agree with Mark >wholeheartedly. My personal opinion is that it is very difficult for liberal/left wing people to even admit they have a >political slant, because most of the media aligns with them on almost any issue — some more subtly than others, >but the newsrooms are populated almost entirely by left-wing Democrats. (In fact, The National Review’s Jonah >Goldberg has written a whole book on what he perceives as the inability of the left to admit it has a political >agenda).

              This thread has been eye opening in some ways to me, at least to better understand the view point of (at least) some conservatives. Would like to comment your well written post.

              I disagree that newsrooms have a general liberal bias. One could say it all just comes from your political beliefs, i.e. liberals think there is a conservative bias and vice-versa. My response is two-fold. First, I don’t want news that is biased toward my opinions, I want news that seeks the truth. I don’t think US news does that as well as other countries. Living in England for a year and a half (albeit twenty years ago) I was impressed with the greater intellectual rigor of the news, even though newspapers were aligned generally with political parties.

              >Bryan, in dismissing anecdotal evidence from Mark about the hatred people had for Bush, you invoke your own >pretty vague criteria (sheer number of conspiracy theories)… but I recall theories that Bush had orchestrated 9/11 >himself to appease Halliburton, or something. In fact, I’ll never forget that the only time I visited London, in 2007, >there was a cadre of people chanting “9/11 was an inside job!” That proves nothing. But it’s indicative that the >conspiracy theories flow in both directions as well. I also recall Rosie O’Donnell, the left’s answer to the titanic >buffoonery of Trump, questioning whether fire could melt steel because she suspected bombs had been planted >in the Twin Towers….

              This was eye-opening, as I never considered the 9/11 conspiracy theorists to be liberal. I did not and do not believe in any of that, it is malarky. I *do* believe the evidence given us by the US and UK governments was politically motivated, which is not really a conspiracy theory. Here is my point of disagreement with you. I do not recall CNN or MSNBC (the “liberal” media) presenting the 9/11 conspiracy theories as newsworthy items over and over for 8 years. However, Fox has given given a considerable amount of coverage to equally idiotic theories about Obama, such as he is not a US citizen, he is a secret Muslim, etc.

              Another odd thing is that you mentioned that your belief that liberals have a propensity to just ignore the facts if they conflict with their ideology. That is of course my contention about right wingers. I guess it may depend on which set of “facts” you believe. My evidence would be the percent of right-wingers who deny climate change. Their opposition in my mind is not based on disputed scientific evidence, but that it conflicts with their ideology. Same with opposition to evolution (and I do not know your stands on these issue, not an attack against you but an argument about ideology versus evidence).

              About Obama and racism. Not all of the rights disagreements with Obama stem from racism, but some do. I have heard one or two people being interviewed on the radio before the last election saying they wouldn’t vote for him because he is black. I just ignore those people, they are hopeless. While I personally do believe there is an element of racism in some opposition to Obama, I think it is a bad argument to be used by liberals against conservatives. I just assume conservatives are arguing on the merits of the position. It is an unfair argument to say well I discount your criticism of Obama because your a racists, or you only hate Hillary because she is woman, etc. I agree with you on this point.

              However, re: Sarah Palin. Oh boy. I don’t care one fig that she is a woman, and I really don’t think the left-wing opposition to her has anything to do with her being a woman, and everything to do with her intellectual rigor (or obvious lack thereof), and I being kind here. She is for liberals the epitome of what we dislike about many right-wingers – this absolute certainty in their beliefs with little or no ability to marshall any arguments for their beliefs. In the “olden” days we had right wingers or conservatives with whom I might disagree but they were damn smart and argued well. William Buckley comes to mind.

              >I don’t deny that there is a lot of hatred and contempt and bile in American politics these days. But I think you >have to have blinders on to think that it comes only or mainly from one side.

              I have my blinders taped to my face then. I DO think the majority of this bile can be blamed on the right. The country as moved *way* to the right over the last 30 years, at the same time as the right has so shrilly yelled about the “liberals” who are in control of everything. Compare our politics to the average in the Western world, and I can think of NO country with more conservative or right-wing policies than the United States.

              And just to make sure you don’t think I am unthinking liberal, I oppose some ideas that are generally considered left-wing. Rent control is counter-productive. I am concerned about immigration. I can list some others as well.

              Anyway, an interesting discussion.

  15. The Democrats of today are like the Republicans of yesterday. The Republicans of today are like the John Birch Society of yesterday.

    It’s been more than 52 years since we had a President who rejected endless militarism, and we all know what happened to him, even if it’s not polite to mention.

    Palin made the (CIA connected) Obama look good in comparison, Trump is performing the same role for Hillary.

    None of the above is an honorable choice.

  16. The Democrats of today are like the Republicans of yesterday. The Republicans of today are like the John Birch Society of yesterday.

    It’s been more than 52 years since we had a President who rejected endless militarism, and we all know what happened to him, even if it’s not polite to mention.

    Palin made the (CIA connected) Obama look good in comparison, Trump is performing the same role for Hillary.

    None of the above is an honorable choice.

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