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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Explaining Trump to Ed in four words

Ed Morrissey is one of those delightful writers made possible by the Internet. In 2003, he founded Captain's Quarters and began blogging. His insights are as keen as his hair is rare.

His reluctance to board the Trump Train puzzled me. Reading him on Friday, I figured out why a smart, independent thinker like Ed missed it. The answer is in four words Trump said to Howard Stern when the Iraq War began.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said.

Stern had asked Trump if he supported the Iraq War. The full answer was “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

The date of the interview was September 11, 2002 -- the first anniversary of 9/11. That happened in Manhattan. His neighborhood. He remembered the smell, that awful, awful smell. So of course he supported the president in stomping these weasels.

The answer shows an everyman, though, who has 99 problems but foreign policy ain't one. The war was abstract then. Bush 43 was seeking permission to land a punch on Iraq. People were just beginning to pay attention.

There are a lot more “Yeah, I guess so” people than there are pundits and wonks.

And on many issues, Trump was “Yeah, I guess so.”

Like most Americans, Trump was not paying attention to the nuances of policy and politics. It is not that they are fools. It is that they have more important things to do with their lives.

Sure he had liberal positions in the past, but upon more careful examination, he changed his mind.

Was it politics? Who knows? Who cares? He's on our side now.

Once you get Trump on your side, you need not worry. He is a man who wins or dies trying.

Policies did not mean a thing to Trump the CEO.

They now mean everything to Trump the president. You can bet he reads, eats, and breathes this stuff.

But skepticism is important and men like Ed Morrissey deserve respect for carrying their doubts into the voting booth, but then taking that leap of faith and voting for Trump anyway.

My voting for Trump was easy.

Ed's vote was a very difficult decision for him.

But three months later, Ed can breath easier.

He wrote:
Conservatives who found themselves lost at sea in a cycle dominated by grassroots populism and the tenacious popularity of the billionaire candidate riding its wave fretted whether they would find themselves locked out, regardless of which candidate won the election. Republican leaders and the Trump campaign insisted that conservatives had only one chance left to save the Supreme Court from a progressive takeover, and eventually conservatives cast their bets on Trump.
This week, that bet paid off – and perhaps more robustly than conservatives might have hoped. Trump had long pledged to name his first Supreme Court pick from a list of 21 names, consisting of well-regarded judicial conservatives that had been recommended from sources like the Heritage Foundation and activists with whom the campaign consulted. Still, having been burned in the past on nominees from better-established politicians – such as George H. W. Bush’s appointment of David Souter or George W. Bush’s initial selection of Harriet Miers – many conservatives had low expectations that Trump would stick to his list once the political realities of Washington DC emerged. 
By the way, Heritage Foundation is the big winner among the D.C. Conservatives. The foundation threw its support behind him and has much input on policy.

In "Trump the Press," I noted that Trump is not a policy wonk. Guys like Ted Cruz are. Trump hires them to get the policy right.

He is also not an architect, and yet his buildings are beautiful because he hires people to make them so.

But back to Ed. I am happy for him. He now gets to see what we saw a year ago -- or six months ago -- or whenever.

From Ed:
During the campaign, Trump would often claim that America would start winning so much that we would get “sick of winning.” Before the first fortnight of his presidency has passed, conservatives – even those who opposed Trump or viewed his potential with significant skepticism – have to acknowledge that they’ve been on a solid winning streak so far, as early #NeverTrump commentator Erick Erickson did. “If you’re a Trump critic from the right and can’t bring yourself to even thank him for Gorsuch,” Erickson tweeted after the Supreme Court nomination announcement, “at this point, you’re just an ill-mannered ass.”
That streak won’t last forever, of course. Trump has plans for infrastructure spending that will generate opposition from fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks, and the pressing need for comprehensive entitlement reform will get back-burnered for at least a few more years. However, Trump has at least established his credibility on honoring commitments to voters, especially with conservatives who only reluctantly rallied to his banner.
That alone will earn Trump maneuvering room on these other issues, and could unite the Republican base more strongly than since the passage of Obamacare seven years ago. And that should have Democrats facing a potential disaster in 2018 worried that their own losing streak will just get longer and longer.
May I suggest the infrastructure plan will not be an ideological tussle? President Trump plans to trade $137 billion in tax credits for $1 trillion in infrastructure from the private sector. The Japanese already are in.

Look for the privatization of airports and the like. Trump believes America's airports are not up to snuff with airports elsewhere.

As for entitlements, I am MC Hammer about my Social Security check -- You Can't Touch It.

But that is the small picture.

Trump is a big picture conservative.

Some of us were lucky enough to understand this early. Eventually, we all will see it.

For 30 years, conservatives looked for the next Reagan. The search for the next Trump begins on January 20, 2025.


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 is covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment," which will be published in paperback on Tuesday.

For autographed copies of either book, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. "What is best in life?" To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women! Thank you President Trump. Keep up the good work! - Elric

  2. The search for the next Trump needs to start much sooner. Pence has proven to be an able administrator and is most people's expectation for successor in 2025. But there is a difference between able administrator and spiritual head. Would Pence have convinced Orrin Hatch to grow a pair?

    A Movement becomes a Cult becomes a Scam (or something like that) The people looking to be Trump's heirs are going to be next generation's GOPe looking for their payoff. It's going to be hard to filter them out.

  3. Thanks again Don for a cogent, succinct summary of complicated issues.
    About Social Security I have for years been saying just FIVE WORDS: "I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!" I've been suffering government sanctioned extortion of my paycheck for nearly 40 years now, and don't you dare tell me its a "benefit"!

  4. Salem Media was also in the NeverTrumps' hip pocket.

  5. One quibble: The search for the next Trump had d****** well better begin before 2025.

  6. Scott Walker is a disrupter too, and he had a proven record of political accomplishments/disruptions not just outrageous talk.

  7. "During the campaign, Trump would often claim that America would start winning so much that we would get “sick of winning.”"

    I dunno Donald, in my case that will take one hell of a lot of winning.

    1. Ask Bobby Knight if he got tired of winning. 32-0. National Championship. Nah, you don't.

  8. "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" ~~ John Maynard Keynes

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall." ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "If you don't learn 3 new things every day, and realize you were wrong about a couple of things you thought you knew, then just just not paying attention" ~~ Me

  9. "you're just not paying attention"

    Need an edit button, please.

  10. Rudolpho AlamendozaFebruary 4, 2017 at 4:25 PM

    sorry, Ed got Trump wrong so in my view his opinion on anything is not worth reading. He hasn't had an original thought in his life. Not saying he isn't a nice person; just saying he can be safely ignored. why waste time on someone who got something so important, so wrong.

  11. I agree with Rudolpho; Ed put me right off, and almost got Instapundit removed from my bookmarks. As it is, I don't go there nearly as often as I used to, due to the tremendous amount of crap peddled by the NeverTrump idiots such as Ed Morrissey and the establishment RINOs at PJMedia.

    BTW Don, I saw not a word in your column where Ed said that he had actually voted for President Trump; I'm not wading through his garbage to find out if he actually did. I doubt it; he seemed happy to do as much damage to Trump as he possibly could, and was gleeful when he thought he'd succeeded.

    There's a good article at The Conservative Treehouse that advises these NeverTrumpers to shut their traps and stop trying to take credit for President Trump's actions, now that he's doing exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail, which those lying jerks kept saying he wouldn't.

    Got no use for those losers, now or ever!