The five remaining candidates are a woman best known for being a doormat of a wife, a crazy communist, the Cuban Obama (but he's a rightwing nut, not a leftwing nut), somebody else, and of course the billionaire Trump.
I recommend his column, however, I want to expand on a point Epstein failed to flesh out because it would undercut his argument.
First the good point he made. From Epstein:
Superior people are no longer attracted to politics. They stay away because so much connected with contemporary political life is degrading. Mitch Daniels, a thoughtful man and a successful Republican governor of Indiana, steered clear of presidential politics because, as he openly acknowledged, he had no wish to put his family through the humiliation that accompanies running for the office.
The media and Internet are the major instruments of contemporary political degradation. The media were once more restrained, operating under a largely self-imposed control. During the Kennedy administration, journalists agreed not to photograph the president smoking or playing golf; as for his high jinks above stairs in the White House, that was never up for public discussion.I am just wondering how adulterers gain superiority. Such superiority certainly is not based on trustworthiness or morality. And did Epstein mean to imply that Mitch Daniels is a philanderer?
However, Epstein's point is valid; voters have winnowed the field of candidates with better qualifications than four of the five; Kasich's political achievements would have made him a better moderate candidate for the Democrats than Governor O'Malley.
(I would argue that 40 years as a CEO of his family's business -- turning it into a global corporation with 34,000 employees -- qualifies Trump. However, I accept that I am in the minority in my belief that having chief executive experience is prerequisite to a successful presidency.)
Now for that point that Epstein failed to flesh out. It is Epstein's description of Trump:
Mr. Trump’s vulgarity is nonpareil — and by his vulgarity I don’t mean his profanity merely, but the vulgar quality of his speech, his thought, his very sentiments. So low have things fallen owing to Donald Trump that lifelong Republicans have told me that, in a Trump-versus-Clinton election, they are likely to hold their nose and vote for Mrs. Clinton.Epstein's use of vulgar without reference to profanity -- "the vulgar quality of his speech, his thought, his very sentiments" -- is very telling. This fellow is a member of the Weekly Standard-National Review-Commentary magazine brigade, which formed the nucleus of the He-Man Trump Hater's Club.
Epstein's column began with a quote from "Roman general and master politician Sulla (139-78 B.C.)." So this use of vulgar is scholarly, meaning the archaic and original use of vulgar apples: to describe the common people. Epstein sees this as a pejorative.
Now the truth unfolds. This is not about the messenger, but the message. That is what elitists find vulgar about Trump. His vulgarity can be summed up in two words: America First.
Few things roil a Western intellectual like patriotism. Hitler was a patriot, therefore all patriots are Hitler.
But there are different blends of patriotism, and American patriotism is to the country, not the government.
The Trumpkins -- named for their leader and that all-American gourd, the pumpkin -- want the federal government to put the American people first. That is anathema to our moral and intellectual superiors. Build a wall? How common. How gauche. How vulgar. No, no, no. We need something much more complex and convoluted -- a path to citizenship. Yes a path to citizenship for those who rejected taking the existing path to citizenship.
Their elaborate plans remind me of a scene from the first Austin Powers movie, when Dr. Evil begins killing the hero:
Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism.So the elitists are attacking these vulgar ideas because the ideas do not fit the world vision concocted by the deep thinkers in Washington and elsewhere who mainly work for nonprofit groups, universities, and subsidized magazines. Few of them work for an outfit that pays taxes. The conceit about Saint William F. Buckley Jr. is that he expounded on the free market capitalist system thanks to his daddy's fortune (which made National Review possible) and a show on PBS in the heyday of its taxpayer funding.
[guard starts dipping mechanism]
Dr. Evil: Close the tank!
Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away!
Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!
Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya?
Sitting here in Poca, West Virginia, I notice no difference between the socialists and some of these He-Man Trump Hater. Their ranks are dominated by professors, tax-exempt thinkers, and trust fund babies. It is not that Washington is filled with people who live in a bubble per se. That is a stereotype. The problem is Washington is filled with bubbleheads. They think they know it all. They reject any new idea that does not conform to their vision of the world. For all their intellectualism, they sure are a close-minded lot.
Question free trade? How vulgar.This lot of conservative elitists is like the global warming crowd. They piss in your shoe and then show you a chart that says it is raining. That is my reaction to the nonsense that free trade has actually created jobs. No, in my area of West Virginia, free trade replaced $60,000 a year chemical industry jobs with $20,000 a year jobs at Wal-Mart.
Build a wall? How vulgar.
Question Muslim immigration? How vulgar.
Reduce legal immigration? How vulgar.
Question NATO? How vulgar.
Consider a one-time tax increase? How vulgar.
Bonus: Wal-Mart began by selling only American made products. Those jobs would have existed regardless of whether we kept those chemical industry jobs.
Trump scares the crap out of the Conservative Commentariat. They are so desperate that they are backing Cruz, whose over-preening ambition turned off the Bush 43 White House and the Senate. Conservatives like Epstein fear Trump.
And by Trump, I mean the Trumpkins because they are vulgar. And they are vulgar because their ideas are revolutionary.