First, the 15 stages of George Will, then my commentary.
August 13, 2015;
In every town large enough to have two traffic lights there is a bar at the back of which sits the local Donald Trump, nursing his fifth beer and innumerable delusions. Because the actual Donald Trump is wealthy, he can turn himself into an unprecedentedly and incorrigibly vulgar presidential candidate. It is his right to use his riches as he pleases. His squalid performance and its coarsening of civic life are costs of freedom that an open society must be prepared to pay.
When, however, Trump decided that his next acquisition would be not another casino but the Republican presidential nomination, he tactically and quickly underwent many conversions of convenience (concerning abortion, health care, funding Democrats, etc.). His makeover demonstrates that he is a counterfeit Republican and no conservative.August 27, 2015:
Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.September 9, 2015:
Donald Trump, whose promises are probably as malleable as his principles, promises to support the Republican nominee. Some of his rivals for the nomination, disoriented by their fear and envy of him, are making the GOP seem like the party of boneless wonders.November 19, 2015:
Until now, many Republicans have been treating the nominating process as a mechanism for sending a message to Washington. The eruption of war in the capital of a NATO ally is a reminder that the nominating process will potentially send a commander in chief to Washington. This might, and should, hasten the eclipse of Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and especially Donald Trump. His coarse, vulgar and nasty 95-minute effusion last week in Fort Dodge, Iowa, answered this question: When he begins to fade, will he draw upon a hitherto well-hidden capacity for graciousness, or will he become a caricature of his normal persona, which itself is a caricature of democracy's most embarrassing possibilities?December 24, 2015:
It is possible Trump will not win any primary, and that by the middle of March our long national embarrassment will be over. But this avatar of unfettered government and executive authoritarianism has mesmerized a large portion of Republicans for six months. The larger portion should understand this:
One hundred and four years of history is in the balance. If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2016, there might not be a conservative party in 2020 either.February 4, 2016:
After Iowa, will Republicans finally get a contest without Trump?February 22, 2016:
Trump so relishes causing Republican wreckage that he went on to attack House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.). Recalling the Democrats’ 2011 ad depicting a Ryan-like figure pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff, Trump suggested that the ad was fair commentary on Ryan’s proposed entitlement reforms. Trump’s plan for reforming entitlements probably is to get Mexico to pay for them, after it finances “The Wall.”February 27, 2016:
Trump's Republican opponents are running out of days, places and people to stop him. Candidates, voters and other daydream believers rail against the "establishment," waiting for this corpse to resurrect itself. But it died 50 years ago, on April 24, 1966, when its house organ, the New York Herald-Tribune, expired. The establishment had been comatose since Barry Goldwater brushed aside its feebly arrogant attempt to derail his nomination at the 1964 convention. Today, the conservative movement should pool its sufficient resources to help Marco Rubio defeat Trump in winner-take-all Florida, where Rubio should spend all of his days and dimes between now and March 15. And to support John Kasich in Ohio. And Trump should be bombarded with questions like these:
What are you hiding by refusing to give the public the aesthetic pleasure of examining what you call your "beautiful" tax returns? Will you at least jot down on a piece of paper your gross income in each of the last three years? And your adjusted gross income on your personal tax returns in the last three years? And how much you paid in federal personal income taxes in those years? And how much each of your companies paid? Will you release the last five years of your personal financial statements — these are already prepared — that banks would have required you to submit annually in connection with the loans you list on the liabilities page of your financial disclosure report?
Trump probably hopes to secure the nomination before releasing pertinent information about his career that supposedly is his qualification for Lincoln's chair. Perhaps, like Cole Porter, he knows when a love affair is too hot not to cool down.February 29, 2016:
Donald Trump's distinctive rhetorical style — think of a drunk with a bullhorn reading aloud James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" under water — poses an almost insuperable challenge to people whose painful duty is to try to extract clarity from his effusions. For example, on Friday, during a long stream of semi-consciousness in Fort Worth, this man who as president would nominate members of the federal judiciary vowed to "open up" libel laws to make it easier to sue — to intimidate and punish — people who write "negative" things. Well.March 12, 2016:
If Trump does become acquainted with gravity — no, not intellectual sobriety; nature’s downward tug — it will be for two reasons: The Republican Party, which together with the Democratic Party has framed the nation’s political debate since first running a presidential candidate 160 years ago, is not a flimsy dinghy to be effortlessly commandeered by pirates hostile to its purposes. And the lavish media exposure that has fertilized the growth of the weed of Trumpism in the garden of conservatism might still stunt its growth by causing his supporters to have second, or perhaps first, thoughts. A steady diet of his self-adulation can be cloying; even an entertaining boor can become a bore.
Mitt Romney’s denunciations and ridicules, reciprocating Trump’s, are not designed to dissuade Trump voters. It is axiomatic that you cannot reason a person out of a position that the person has not been reasoned into. The adhesive that binds Trumpkins to their messiah can be dissolved by neither facts nor eloquence. Romney and other defenders of Republican traditions are trying to prevent a stampede to Trump of “Vichy Republicans,” collaborationists coming to terms with the occupation of their party.March 21, 2016:
Republicans who vow to deny Garland a hearing and who pledge to support Donald Trump if he is their party’s nominee are saying: Democracy somehow requires that this vacancy on a non-majoritarian institution must be filled only after voters have had their say through the election of the next president. And constitutional values will be served if the vacancy is filled not by Garland but by someone chosen by President Trump, a stupendously uninformed dilettante who thinks judges “sign” what he refers to as “bills.” There is every reason to think that Trump understands none of the issues pertinent to the Supreme Court’s role in the American regime, and there is no reason to doubt that he would bring to the selection of justices what he brings to all matters — arrogance leavened by frivolousness.April 7, 2016:
Regarding policy, he is flummoxed by predictable abortion questions because he has been pro-life for only 15 minutes and because he has lived almost seven decades without giving a scintilla of thought to any serious policy question. Regarding process, Trump, who recently took a week-long vacation from campaigning, has surfed a wave of free media to the mistaken conclusion that winning a nomination involves no more forethought than he gives to policy. He thinks he can fly in, stroke a crowd’s ideological erogenous zones, then fly away. He knows nothing about the art of the political deal.
The nomination process, says Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, "is a multilevel Rubik’s Cube. Trump thought it was a golf ball — you just had to whack it." Roe says the Cruz campaign’s engagement with the granular details of delegate maintenance is producing a situation where "the guy who is trying to hijack the party runs into a guy with a machine gun."
Trump, the perpetually whining "winner," last won something on March 22, in Arizona. Trump, says Roe, is now "bound by his brand rather than propelled by his brand." If Trump comes to Cleveland, say, 38 delegates short of 1,237, he will lose. Cruz probably will be proportionally closer to Trump than Lincoln (102 delegates) was to William Seward (173.5) who was 60 delegates short of victory on the first of three ballots at the 1860 convention.April 21, 2016:
Voters can only surmise what Trump is hiding by refusing to release his tax returns and can only guess how much he is exaggerating his wealth, or how much he has made from the money his father gave him. (To the question, “When you publicly state what you’re worth, what do you base that number on?,” he replied: “I would say it’s my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked.”) Voters know, however, his repeated boasts that he has prospered in the New York City real estate business, a petri dish of crony capitalism, by making lavish payments to political decision-makers:
“I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.” And: “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” And: “I’ve got to give to them, because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”May 2, 2016:
If Trump is nominated, the GOP must keep him out of the White House.May 7, 2015:
In receiving, so far, the support of 4.7 percent of America’s eligible voters, Trump has won a mere plurality of votes in a party approved by only 33 percent of the electorate. This electorate had about 5 percent more Democrats than Republicans even before Trump further tarnished the GOP brand. So, Republicans need to carry independents by more than Romney’s five points. Even in states that have voted Republican since 2000, Trump is viewed unfavorably by 62 percent and strongly unfavorably by 52 percent.
His metabolic urge to be scabrous guarantees that Republican candidates everywhere will be badgered by questions about what they think about what he says. What they say will determine how many of them lose with him, and how many deserve to.George Will is one of those conservatives who prides himself in standing athwart history and yelling stop. Pride is a cardinal sin -- and also a bad strategy.
I prefer conservatives who make history.
I am not saying George Will was wrong at every turn, only that I could not find a turn in which he was right. His stream of personal attacks and insults are dotted with goofy assertions. Really only 4.7% of American voters support Trump? Will's vocabulary is large, his thoughts small. I don't care what he thinks about Trump.
But when George Will implies that I am a Nazi or a French collaborator, because that was what he meant by Vichy Republicans, I think someone ought to write a book and put this guy in his place.
The 15 pieces excerpted here show a fellow who grew not one inch in the last 10 months. He is stationary. He looked at Trump very superficially, decided Trump was Hitler and railed on and on for 10 months about how awful Trump is.