How did we get here? It all began in Knoxville nearly 20 years ago.
Glenn Reynolds emerged from the online chatrooms as a leader of libertarian and conservative thought on the Internet. He did this by wrapping his quick, sharp wit around very solid ideas that never made the mainstream press.
Weeks before 9/11, he began his Instapundit site, which he turned into the tallest soapbox on the right -- a rallying point for people stumbling onto the Internet to discover that, hey, they were not the only ones questioning authority.
Let that sink in.
Some professor in Tennessee with a laptop and a dial-up became as important in setting the right's agenda as the Wall Street Journal with all its bricks and mortar and printing presses. Certainly far fewer CEOs read Instapundit, and definitely he draws far fewer eyeballs.
But his influence exceeds his numbers.
And the Wall Street Journal has been at the forefront of technology, criss-crossing the nation (and now world) with satellite printing offices as soon as there were satellites.
Indeed, James Taranto did a great job putting the Wall Street Journal online (as did Jonah Goldberg at National Review before his recent bout with Trumphobia).
But at the grassroots, Instapundit developed a network of libertarian and conservative writers and readers who really needed one another as they resisted a better financed, better organized liberal establishment.
His site is the center of an electronic community tied together by a commonality not of nationality, race, or religion, but rather the notion that most Americans can take care of themselves with little aid or guidance from the government.
No one elected Reynolds and I doubt he sought the office. But cream rises, and a man in the heart of Jackson's America is the mayor of this invisible town we live in. The blogfather.
Physically, he lives in a town named for that chubby bookseller, Henry Knox. How appropriate.
When Washington needed cannon, Knox had the gumption to trek through three hundred miles of foot-deep snow to Ticonderoga to bring back 60 tons of artillery.
Washington ringed Boston with that cannon (and some Potemkin cannon).
On the morning of March 17, 1776, British General Howe looked up at Dorchester Heights and said, “The rebels did more in one night than my whole army would have done in one month.”
Howe then decided now would be a good time to relocate to New York City.
Such is the spirit we built this nation on -- a spirit George Lucas captured in "Star Wars" in 1977.
But just as Lucas (and now Disney) milked a plucky film of its fun and humor for a string of movies as empty as a green screen, so we have built this gigantic Death Star government that dictates how much water you can have in your toilet tank, what color your toilet paper may be (white only) and what it smells like (unscented -- no scent for you).
And you read your daily newspaper, listen to your morning news on radio, and watch the talking heads on TV at night, and they reassure you that every problem in the world can be fixed with another government program.
It's NPRism. The moral to every actuary done by public radio is more government.
The Internet challenged all that. And as Reynolds heads toward the 20th anniversary of his adopting the handle of Instapundit, readers see the change finally happen.
Follow the money. Online ads have eclipsed newspaper ads. Any blog that made money last year is more profitable than many newspapers in the nation, who are tossing staff overboard to keep from sinking -- after wasting all that time earlier rearranging the deck chairs.
Watching Reynolds and his rebel army -- read Army of Davids -- is inspirational. It also made a pretty good blueprint for a presidential run.
I am sure Donald Trump incorporated the tactics into his campaign. Be quick. Be nimble. Be everywhere.
Be Instapresident -- ninja Instapresident.
Trump spent half the money and defeated the Clinton Clan, the Republicans, the Democrats, the media, and the bureaucracy in the most entertaining election in my life
Reynolds is disciplined, amiable, and in many ways the opposite of Donald Trump's public persona.
But in dealing with Trump, you have to realize the hair is real, but the color ain't. Trump is a conservative who doesn't particularly care who you screw. He's the billionaire playboy and family man.
Contradictions don't matter. Deeds do.
He may not be able to recite any Bible verses off the top of his head, but I know of too many incidences of Christian charity to question his religion. A guy stops to help fix the flat on your limo, and you pay off his mortgage? You put a homeless woman up for years in Trump Tower? You help save a stranger's family farm in Georgia? I could go on and on, and if readers wish to share some in comments, I would appreciate it.
But as Leo Durocher said nice guys are in seventh place.
In politics and business, Trump ain't particularly nice -- to the people who deserve to be drop-kicked.
And while he seems undisciplined, the fact is he has a strict regimen each day, rising with the sun, reading a half-dozen papers, eating breakfast....
His ninja Instapresidency is off to a great start because Trump brought the private sector work ethic of 12-hour days to government. Upon election, politicians take a "well-earned vacation" after campaigning so hard. They prepare for a 9-to-5 life with 14 federal holidays and four weeks annual vacation, plus sick days.
Trump got out his phone and his pen, and began running the government. He slowed for a half-day of work on Thanksgiving, but put in a full day the next.
All those things the experts said couldn't be done -- saving Carrier, getting Ford to stay, attracting foreign investments -- were done before the Electoral College convened.
Betting against The Donald is like betting against the Road Runner. Meep, meep.
By the time he got to the White House officially, he had transformed the economy back into a bustling, optimistic, thriving state. The Dow at 20,000 won't last of course. A correction will happen. But the Dow will roar back even higher.
He's playing the press for the cheap hacks they are. They deserve it.
From Glenn Reynolds:
If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.
That’s too bad. If we had a better press, we’d be much better off as a nation, and Trump’s strategy of capitalizing on the press’s flaws is good for Trump, but will probably make that problem worse, if such a thing is possible. But the truth is, we don’t have a better press. And as long as the press is mindlessly partisan and bereft of self-discipline, capitalizing on that is just good politics.I'm with Reynolds. I would like to have a free press.
We will not have a free press until it quits the Democratic Party. That is the problem. A discredited press cannot hold a president accountable.
But there is comfort in knowing no fascist would take Trump's route to the presidency.
A fascist would not need to work around the media on the Internet, she would take millions from industrialists and foreign governments, then demonize her opponent as Hitler while using the media as her personal propaganda machine.
Trump used American cunning -- think Swamp Fox, Daniel Morgan at Cowpens, and the aforementioned Knox -- to work around the Establishment.
Form dictates function.
The rebel army form dictated the Instapresident. The results are coming in.
From Judge Andrew P. Napolitano:
When Trump promised that as president -- on “day one” -- he would begin to dismantle ObamaCare, some Republicans, many members of the press and most Democrats laughed at him. They are laughing no longer because the first executive order he signed on Jan. 20 directed those in the federal government who enforce ObamaCare to do so expecting that it will soon not exist.
He ordered that regulations already in place be enforced with a softer, more beneficent tone, and he ordered that no penalty, fine, setoff or tax be imposed by the IRS on any person or entity who is not complying with the individual mandate, because by the time taxes are due on April 15, the IRS will be without authority to impose or collect the non-tax tax, as the individual mandate will no longer exist. Why take money from people that will soon be returned?
Then he ordered a truly revolutionary act, the likes of which I have never seen in the 45 years I have studied and monitored the government’s laws and its administration of them. He ordered that when bureaucrats who are administering and enforcing the law have discretion with respect to the time, place, manner and severity of its enforcement, they should exercise that discretion in favor of individuals and against the government.
This is radical coming from any president in the modern era of government-can-do-no-wrong. It is far more Thomas Jefferson, the small-government champion with whom Trump has never been associated, than it is Theodore Roosevelt, the super-regulator whom Trump has stated he admires. It recognizes the primacy and dignity of the individual and the fallibility of the state. It acknowledges the likely demise of ObamaCare. It is utterly without precedent since Jefferson’s presidency.
We had a rebellion on November 8.Trump’s revolutionary act is a breeze of freedom on a sea of regulation. It recognizes something modern governments never admit -- that they can be and have been wrong. It is exactly as Trump promised.
The revolution has begun.
In eight years, ninja Instapresident will have whittled the federal government to a size smaller than the one Reagan inherited.
Can't be done?
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone."
--JFK, Rice University, September 12, 1962@@@
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, "Trump the Establishment."
For an autographed copy, email me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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