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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Flight 93 election, Flight 1549 presidency

Kelefa Sanneh of New Yorker came to grips with the intellectual case for President Trump by snagging an interview with the person who under the name Publius Decius Mus wrote “The Flight 93 Election” in the Claremont Review of Books.

That piece by Decius was stunning and warranted a chapter of its own in the sequel to "Trump the Press."

Sanneh said the piece "likened the country to a hijacked airplane, and argued that voting for Trump was like charging the cockpit: the consequences were possibly dire, but the consequences of inaction were surely so."

I found it curious that Sanneh made no mention of 9/11, which was when Flight 93 flew and crashed into a farm field instead of the White House, thanks to brave passengers.

But Sanneh got the point:
The essay was meant to provoke conservatives, and it succeeded. Ross Douthat, of the Times, responded that Decius had underestimated the likelihood that a Trump Presidency would damage both the country and the movement.
On Twitter, Douthat wrote, “I’d rather risk defeat at my enemies’ hands than turn my own cause over to a incompetent tyrant.” The Web site of National Review, the eminent conservative magazine, published a series of critiques, including one by Jonah Goldberg, who called Decius’s central metaphor “grotesquely irresponsible.” No doubt Goldberg expected that, before long, he would be able to reminisce about that strange week, near the end of an endless campaign, when a blogger using a pen name was the most talked-about conservative columnist in America.
Now that the passengers have taken over the plane and landed her safely, Sanneh is coming to grips with what he calls "A rogue group of conservative thinkers try to build a governing ideology around a President-elect who disdains ideology."

Sanneh mentioned the things Trump did that would have knocked out other candidates.
Trump’s popularity was undimmed by these transgressions, which led Rush Limbaugh to suggest, in one memorable broadcast, that “the Republican conservative base is not monolithically conservative.” If liberals were shocked, on Election Night, to realize that they were outnumbered (in the swing states, at least), then many leading conservatives must have been even more shocked to discover, throughout the year, that their movement was no longer theirs—if it ever had been.
We have grown accustomed to hearing stories about the liberal bubble, but the real story of this year’s election was about the conservative bubble: the results showed how sharply the priorities of the movement’s leaders differed from those of their putative followers.
The market for P.C. Conservatism is minuscule outside of the capital.

Which leads us to the interview Sanneh snagged with the pseudonymous author of the Flight 93 election piece:
In his “Flight 93” essay, Decius called Trump “the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey,” and he didn’t mean it as an insult. Trump argues that the government should do more to insure that workers have good jobs, speaks very little about religious imperatives, and excoriates the war in Iraq and wars of occupation in general. Decius says that he isn’t concerned about Trump’s seeming fondness for Russia; in his view, thoughtless provocations would be much more dangerous. In his telling, Trump is a political centrist who is misconstrued as an extremist.
There is a reason for that, of course. Trump has routinely said things that would, in previous elections, have been considered scandalous and disqualifying. His outlandish and often incompatible claims, along with his refusal to admit mistakes, make it impossible to determine which of his notions are likely to become policies, and can foster the sinister impression that, as President, Trump will be accountable to no one, not even himself. Decius says that he learned to accept what he calls Trump’s “unconventionality as a candidate,” and maintains that his support never wavered, even when Trump said things that he found indefensible.
(The worst, Decius says, was Trump’s suggestion that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge presiding over a fraud case against him, had “an absolute conflict of interest,” because he was of Mexican descent. “I thought that was exactly the wrong thing to do,” Decius said.)
But he also thinks that Trump’s occasional crudeness and more than occasional intemperance are inseparable from his “larger-than-life personality,” which was what allowed him to challenge conservative orthodoxy in the first place.
Nearly eight years after Flight 93, there was Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger landed an Airbus A320-214 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew members aboard.

We rushed the cockpit, and ejected the hijackers.

Now what?

I think President Trump could turn this into a Flight 1549 presidency.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel.

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  1. For eight years we've had a president who through the cooperation of the media was "accountable to no one, not even himself" because when anything bad happened he was the person on the outside looking in. Never responsible.

  2. I rather liken it to jumping out of an airplane with a parachute. Jumpmaster Trump got most of out safely while the Democrats/Leftists/MSM/SJWs are continuing down in their self-induced death spiral. It won't be a pretty sight when they hit the bottom. - Elric

  3. "A rogue group of conservative thinkers try to build a governing ideology around a President-elect who disdains ideology."
    Interesting, because if you read Russell Kirk conservatism is the negation of ideology, and iirc in his critique of neoconservatism in The Policy of Prudence he decries the neocons for introducing ideology into the conservative mainstream. In fact, they were so successful that they turned the conservative movement into the American Zionist movement, replete with evangelicals bowing down to a golden calf.
    I know because I was taken in by it for many years, and had put Kirk on inaccessible shelves. I look at books like Empires of Trust by Thomas Madden now and realize that Roman culture and stability were devastated by the "invade the world, invite the world" policy of Rome, and that he was justifying it to us for money. Now Obama is trying as hard as he can to provoke war with Russia so he can continue the neocon policy. Jan 20 can't come fast enough.

  4. Trump needs to hire Sully to fly Air Force One

  5. The liberal bubble shut out conservatives, The GOP bubble shut out its base. The base went for Trump. It was a chance we had to take, for it was the only chance for steering in a different direction.

    1. Too true. When there's no other decent choice, you make the choice you have to make. -- BJ54

  6. The ideologically stunted really miss the point at what appears to be Trump's unpredictability is actually a self-actuated mentally liberated genius. They're so used to the narrative the concept of life without one is unthinkable.

  7. The Best thing that ever happened to Canada was the election of Donald Trump. I would pay large to listen in on the private conversations between Trudeau-Dione and the Trump Team....

    We are in dire need of someone just like him up here.