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Friday, April 29, 2016

Peggy Noonan gets Trump

Of all the writers I hoped would convert, Peggy Noonan was the one I most hoped would eventually support Trump. When you admire someone, you hope they agree with you. I now realize she never will convert. But she understands.

An Irish-Catholic from Brooklyn, she stunned me when she shunned her fellow outer-borough New Yorker. But in her column today, she sees the inevitable -- "The wind is at Donald Trump’s back, and it's the kind that doesn't lessen but build" -- (yes it should be builds) -- and she sees why the inevitable is inevitable:
Those conservative writers and thinkers who have for nine months warned the base that Mr. Trump is not a conservative should consider the idea that a large portion of the Republican base no longer sees itself as conservative, at least as that term has been defined the past 15 years by Washington writers and thinkers.
Trump is no ideologue:
In my continuing quest to define aspects of Mr. Trump’s rise, to my own satisfaction, I offer what was said this week in a talk with a small group of political activists, all of whom back him. One was about to begin approaching various powerful and influential Republicans who did not support him, and make the case. I told her I’d been thinking that maybe Mr. Trump’s appeal is simple: What Trump supporters believe, what they perceive as they watch him, is that he is on America’s side.
And that comes as a great relief to them, because they believe that for 16 years Presidents Bush and Obama were largely about ideologies. They seemed not so much on America’s side as on the side of abstract notions about justice and the needs of the world. Mr. Obama’s ideological notions are leftist, and indeed he is a hero of the international left. He is about international climate-change agreements, and leftist views of gender, race and income equality. Mr. Bush’s White House was driven by a different ideology — neoconservatism, democratizing, nation building, defeating evil in the world, privatizing Social Security.
But it was all ideology.
This does not mean he does not have a belief. He does. It may not be knee-deep in policy; he never memorized the Constitution. But he does pay lawyers who do, and he pays them because he has the money, and he has the money because he rebuilt Manhattan (or at least helped return major parts of it from the 1970s porno ghetto it had become). This year, accomplishments mean more to voters than talk. Filibusters are easy. Putting together the financing and contracts to build skyscrapers is not.

But that is my insight. Here is Noonan's:
You could see this aspect of Trumpism — I’m about America, end of story — in his much-discussed foreign-policy speech this week. I have found pretty much everything said about it to be true. It was long, occasionally awkward-sounding and sometimes contradictory. It was interesting nonetheless. He was trying to blend into a coherent whole what he’s previously said when popping off on the hustings. He was trying to establish that there’s a theme to the pudding. He was also trying to reassure potential supporters that he is actually serious, that he does have a foreign-policy framework as opposed to just a grab bag of emotional impulses.
The speech was an attack on the reigning Washington foreign-policy elite of both parties, which he scored as incompetent and unsuccessful: “Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, and this led to one foreign-policy disaster after another.” Mistakes in Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria threw the region “into crisis,” and helped create ISIS. He described democracy-promotion efforts as destructive, costing “thousands of American lives and many trillions of dollars.” Our resources are overextended, our allies must contribute more, our friends don’t trust us, nor do our allies respect us. He called for “a coherent foreign policy based on American interests.” His interest is “focusing on creating stability.” “We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies,” including a “pause for reassessment,” which will help prevent the next San Bernardino.
He is an American. First. Last. Always.

That's his political ideology. He believes in the future because 40 years ago when most other developers gave up on Manhattan, he believed. And he believes hard work will get you where you want to be because that is what worked for him.

The Wall Street Journal headlined her column: "Simple Patriotism Trumps Ideology."

What in tarnation is wrong with that?


  1. Goes right along with my comment yesterday.

  2. Nothing, Mr S, nothing at all.

    That line, "He is an American. First. Last. Always.", ought to be his campaign slogan.

  3. One more thing. In The Conservative Mind Kirk points out that "conservatism is the negation of ideology", and points to the very origin of the word as coming out of the ashes of the French Revolution, also quoting John Adams at length regarding the idiocy of the concept. He never discusses Adams' last speech that I recall, but it was simply, " Independence forever", which goes right along with his own son's description of what American foreign policy was and which was alluded to by Trump. According to Kirk, conservatism is a mood based on certain core understandings of the world, and was never meant to be turned into an ideology. The mistake made by Conservatism Inc. has been to reach certain policy decisions based on the mood of conservatism and then mistake those policies for conservatism itself. Of course, the main criticism of Kirkian conservatism is that it can be easily distorted since it isn't clearly definable, thus one sees these perversions into architecture, new urbanism, distributivism, that Beery dude, and crunchy con's (good God!). It was this problem that I think made it so easy for Richard Hofstadter to write his books about the paranoia and stupidity of conservatives back in the fifties and sixties. And the reaction to him was repeated attempts to hitch conservatism to some guiding star. But Americans were born under a wandering star, so the best thing to hitch their wagon to (I feel a song coming on) is, like the Adams', America herself.

  4. Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
    --William E. Gladstone

    The people who support Trump subscribe to this classical view. They see both parties as classical conservatives, while they are classical liberals as our founders were.

  5. If patriotism is an ideology, I'm an ideologue. - Elric

  6. I think Mr Trump will be a good healing salve for America.
    America is a proud beast that stands tall though she is wounded and needs to look within and heal herself.

    The present world, whether its emaciated leaders realize it or not, is missing America's leadership...frankly it is a mess out there.
    One can hope that Mr Trump is the man of the hour...he certainly has shown himself to be worthy of a shot at it.

    Sam C

  7. Noonan writes: They....should consider the idea that a large portion of the Republican base no longer sees itself as conservative.

    She still doesn't get it. A large portion of the Republican base no longer sees the party as conservative.

  8. I'm not sure people understand, even right now, that DJT is deadly serious about what he's said. We've had so many pols lie to us in recent years, I think we've become numb. No more. I guarantee you there are frantic meetings going across the pond right now. We should pull out of NATO, pull out of South Korea, and stop every last dollar of aid to the butcher regimes in Africa. Like, the gravy train's over, folks...

  9. I agree with Hank. It would be good if Noonan has returned to her senses, if her senses were good before, which they seemed to be, but I have given up on her.

  10. Hank really nailed it, I think, though otherwise I thought Noonan's essay was very good.

    However, I will just offer this caveat- I think possibly people have different definitions of "conservative". A return to root principles often can be viewed as reactionary to those in power. I would guess that is where Noonan is coming from.

  11. I believe that a lot of people just want to get back to Norman Rockwell values.

    I'm not advocating for turning the clocks back...that couldn't happen nor would one want it to.
    Just the basic values of respect, hard work, honesty, reliability and patriotism.

    Being proud of and wanting to be counted within the fabric and identity of one's country.
    Its a fine thing to feel 'part of' something positive.

    Sam C

  12. I would value that except that she voted for Obama. Not a good reference for her in my opinion. I lost all respect for her then.

  13. Trump is not someone I consider the ideal choice for president, but if one waits for the perfect candidate, the wait will be a long one. After Obama's Eight Years of Pain, I see the difference between him and Trump as simply that "Trump really did build this!" As for W, if the rest of the Western world has lost its courage and self-respect, and is no longer confident enough to engage in self-preservation against the onslaught of the barbarians, so be it. But that should not be America's future. I'm for a leader who believes in the Exceptional America, even one who is not perfect.

  14. I agree with Rockport Conservative. Peggy Noonan lost all credibility when she fell for hope and change and supported and voted for Obungler. So did Kathleen Parker, David Brooks and many other "conservative" pundits. I no longer read anything that she writes. She was too dumb to see through Obigmouth's BS even though it was there for anyone with a functioning brain to see. Everything I predicted about him came true.

  15. I don't put much stock in what Noonan says. She seems like a woman who is swayed by the typical jabber a guy will say to get his way. Given that, I believe that Trump is a patriot, not a conservative. We already know that conservativism has lost to Radical Marxist Progressive Collectivism. Don't believe me, then look at the utterly co-opted millennial general that has soundly rejected or is rejecting capitalism/conservativism and embraces a guy like Bernie Sanders, one of the dumbest human beings to ever exist on planet earth today. Trumps patriotism is his for his love of country. When his slogan, Making America Great Again is uttered, what it is really saying is that, America comes first, it's citizens come first. No more navel gazing and cowtowing to other countries that are parasitic. He's an America first patriot. Above all else, I can respect that, but more importantly, I believe it is the appropriate tonic against Radical Marxist Progressive Collectivism. His brand of national patriotism could set back RMPC by decades and wound it. I pray that he is successful because an HRC presidency is America's doom. Obama set the charge, the Harpy will light the fuse.

  16. IMO Noonan is a bellweather of a certain conventional wisdom. When she warms to Trump, it is because many other people are doing so.

  17. Agreed with Anonymous above. I don't care for Peggy Noonan personally, and the U.S. has been swinging like a pendulum for decades, but she can put a finger to the wind.

    Momentum is with Trump, and it's on a gut, don't-care-who-we-need-to-survive level.

    If Trump delivers his acceptance speech in front of a 60-foot American flag, a la Patton, he's even shrewder than I take him for.

  18. Noonan supported Obama in 2008 and a lot of people said she got it then, too. Has she ever admitted to being wrong about that?

    What I think is that a lot of people who call themselves conservatives are selling out the siren song of a morally degenerate mountebank peddling a insincere brew of nationalism laced with nostalgia.