A Monica Crowley article linked at RealClearPolitics Friday captures well my so far inarticulate thoughts toward Trump right now.
I was horrified when he became the Republican nominee. How could our party have pinned its hopes on someone so disreputable, so manifestly unprincipled, so low and gross? Why would anyone believe his promises? What in the world makes pro-lifers imagine he will follow through on anything? What has his whole life been about but self-aggrandizement at the expense of anyone who stands in his way?
Friends and others would point out that we weren’t electing just a president, but an entire administration; there would be good people keeping him in check. All I could think was A) he can’t possibly win, and B) he will ruin them all because that’s what narcissists do. Give them power, and they reward anyone who flatters them; they destroy anyone who won’t. Increasingly, they are surrounded by sleazy yes-men.
I sincerely believed that Trump would wreck what’s left of the Republican Party, the only viable political alternative (lame as it’s been lately) to galloping leftism. So, I couldn’t vote for him. I couldn’t vote for him any more than I could vote for Hilary Clinton. I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin; I stopped going to the Drudge Report and Ricochet. It was too depressing to see so many former guiding lights defending the indefensible and touting the intolerable. The only commentators I could bear to read were people like David French and Jonah Goldberg, who saw it as I did.
Then, when he won, I was unexpectedly elated. Americans had risen up! Clinton, the Democrats, and their media sycophants had gone down! Hurrah! Happy day!
In the weeks and months following, I was glad to be in the position I was — surprised and delighted over every good bit of news and undismayed by the chaos, which is, of course, what you get when you elect someone like Trump. I liked being able to tell distraught friends and neighbors in my upscale part of Pennsylvania that I hadn’t voted for him. I thought their extreme distress was over the top and a bit ridiculous (it’s as if they took the word of his worst media detractors as literally true — as if he really were a white supremacist and a would-be fascist.) But I was glad to be able to offer at least that reassurance, so we could stay friends.
Two major streams of impressions in the time since have composed my current view.
1) Trump has been a far, far better president than I’d thought possible. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh! The embassy in Jerusalem! Roaring economy, actual border enforcement, goodbye to the egregious Iran deal and the asinine Paris accords, hello beefed-up military, movement in North Korea, calling Europe’s bluff — Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, General Mattis, John Bolton, Larry Kudlow — It’s all been much better than expected. There’s hope for American again.
I’ve had to revise practically all my opinions. Maybe the outward civility and personal rectitude of people like George W., Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio actually were a liability. Maybe “principled politicians” like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz really are insufferable and out of touch. Maybe we needed a crude, narcissistic president to make headway in a crude, narcissistic culture. And maybe Trump’s not as bad a person as I’d thought. Maybe he does have some core principles and values down there somewhere, under all the bluster and mess. In any case, he’s getting stuff done, and his media-baiting has served the good purpose of exposing their extreme bias, thank God.
2) His enemies have proven to be far worse than I’d imagined. I knew Obama was a covert narcissist and a leftist ideologue, a Marxist even. I knew he was governed by an evil worldview that saw America as needing to be taken down some pegs, while peoples marginalized by colonialism were given a leg up. I knew he’d set out to be the great un-Reagan and un-Churchill. He had a Saul Alinskite political MO: ends justify whatever means; isolate a target (like marriage) and destroy it. Pose as high-minded, even-keeled, and above the fray, while really being deeply nasty and harboring contempt for American institutions and the rule of law. And oppose all things Judeo-Christian and conservative, except insofar as they provide a handy cover for a leftist social justice agenda. I knew his appointees were bad guys — either ideologues like him, corrupt opportunists, or both.
But even I couldn’t have believed it was this bad — that the Justice Department and the FBI would shamelessly deploy the awesome tools of their trade to destroy Trump and elect Clinton, that the mainstream media would openly abandon even the pretense of objectivity to become flagrant propagandists while demanding the deference due to true reporters, that it would become almost impossible to have a conversation with an anti-Trumper (since to defend him is to be instantly shunned as a racist and a fascist), that so many of our institutions would be so decimated so fast.
Before the election, I thought the best-case scenario was that Trump would be elected and impeached so that we’d have a President Pence. I don’t think that anymore. Now nothing seems more important, more absolutely necessary, than keeping the House, preventing impeachment, and strengthening Trump’s hand. America seems to me on the brink of complete destruction, overwrought as that may sound. Allow the Democrats and the media to get away with this corruption, with Mueller’s search-and-destroy mission, and we’ll be lost for good. It’s weird and ironic, but true: our best hope for national salvation lies in rallying round Trump.
I’m back with Rush and Drudge and Ricochet. I’m practically stalking Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hansen. Now it’s David French and Jonah Goldberg I can hardly stand to read. Forget about Commentary and The Weekly Standard. How can they not see what’s really going on here? Who cares how sleazy and corrupt Trump and his inner circle have been over the years? It’s nothing, just nothing in comparison with the depth and extent of the corrosion at the heart of things in Washington DC. If we care about our country, we’ll make electing Republicans this November our top priority.
That’s how I see it now. I bet I’m not alone.