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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All you need to know about George Will

Fox News decided not to renew the contract of George Will. Picking a fight with Bill O'Reilly makes you expendable. And there is an endless supply of Trump bashers.

And so the Miss Prissy of Washington pundits exits stage left, by before George Will leaves, however, he deserves a swift kick in the keister.

I share with readers my chapter on Mister Will in "Trump the Press":

Chapter 21. Trump’s Candidacy Must Die.

In 1970, Steve Winwood and his group Traffic dusted off the traditional British ballad “John Barleycorn Must Die” and made it the title track for their new album. The song was a wry tale of three men who vowed that John Barleycorn must die. But actually, they were distilling adult beverages. They buried him, but he rose. They cut him down. They skinned him to the bone. They ground him. But instead of killing him, they made him stronger—about seventy proof.
Well there’s beer all in the barrel
And brandy in the glass,
But little old sir John with his nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.
Now the huntsman, he can’t hunt the fox,
Nor loudly blow his horn,
And the tinker he can’t mend his pots
Without John Barleycorn.
In 2015, George Will had become one of the men who had determined that Donald Trump’s candidacy must die. From Will’s perch in Washington, he had gazed at the Trump Tower in Manhattan and decided he did not like Trump. Not one bit.

The Wall Street Journal called Will “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America.” That was in 1986. Nearly thirty years later, he was still influential, having joined the roster of dozens of pundits at Fox News, after ABC dumped him in favor of a man forty years younger. Roger Ailes hired pundits by the score after building Fox News into a $2 billion annual profit center.

Will’s dislike of Trump was much like Brooke Astor’s disdain for Trump—they both considered him a boor. She had scorned him as nouveau riche, while Will considered him his intellectual inferior. The feud was one-sided for many years. When Will took umbrage at Trump appearing beside Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential run, Will’s verbiage was polysyllabic but nevertheless impolite because he attacked the person not the idea.

“I do not understand the cost benefit here. The costs are clear. The benefit? What voter is gonna vote for him (Romney) because he is seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious it seems to me. Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics,” Will said on ABC News on May 21, 2012.

Will’s assumption that Trump was dumb reminded me of an on-air exchange between radio talker Don Imus and historian Michael Beschloss after the 2008 election.
BESCHLOSS: Yeah. Even aside from the fact of electing the first African American president and whatever one’s partisan views, this is a guy whose IQ is off the charts—I mean you cannot say that he is anything but a very serious and capable leader and—you know—you and I have talked about this for years.
IMUS: Well. What is his IQ?
BESCHLOSS: Our system doesn’t allow those people to become president, those people meaning people that smart and that capable.
IMUS: What is his IQ?
BESCHLOSS: Pardon?
IMUS: What is his IQ?
BESCHLOSS: Uh. I would say it’s probably—he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become president.
IMUS: That’s not what I asked you. I asked you what his IQ was.
BESCHLOSS: You know that I don’t know and I’d have to find someone with more expertise.
IMUS: You don’t know.
Will had no idea what Trump’s intelligence quotient was, but why let an uncomfortable fact get in the way of a good opinion? As the son of a philosophy professor, Will likely equated academics with intelligence and business with its opposite. Thus the more successful Trump was, the dumber he was.

Trump fired back in kind on Twitter, calling Will “the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time” and “strictly third rate.”

Alexandra Petri, one of Will’s stablemates at the Washington Post, gave Trump the TKO—technical knockout. “George Will got his man all right. But Trump wins this round. He always wins. Every time his name is mentioned, he grows in power,” she wrote on May 30, 2012.

But Will was a slow learner. Three years later, Will launched a string of attacks on Trump. On July 5, 2015, Will discussed on Fox News the upcoming first Republican debate in Cleveland.

“Picture him on stage. He says something hideously inflammatory—which is all he knows how to say—and then what do the other nine people on stage do? Do they either become complicit in what he said by their silence, or do they all have to attack him? The debate gets hijacked. The process gets hijacked. At the end of the day he is a one-man Todd Akin. He’s Todd Akin with ten different facets,” Will said.

Akin was the Republican senatorial candidate in Missouri in 2012, who created a stir by saying raped women rarely get pregnant. The party demanded he apologize. He did. That was foolish because the party abandoned him anyway. The lesson to conservatives is never apologize. Republicans would rather look good in the eyes of Democrats than win.

Trump definitely was not that kind of Republican, which drove the conservative commentariat batty. Will was typical.

“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,” Will began his column on August 12.

As if calling a man the town drunk was not a coarsening of civic life. Cognitive dissonance is a way of life in Washington. Perhaps it traces to the water system. Will’s charge also was laughably inaccurate. Trump was a teetotaler.

The column continued to knock Trump and then Trump’s supporters.

“Conservatives who flinch from forthrightly marginalizing Trump mistakenly fear alienating a substantial Republican cohort. But the assumption that today’s Trumpites are Republicans is unsubstantiated and implausible. Many are no doubt lightly attached to the political process, preferring entertainment to affiliation. They relish their candidate’s vituperation and share his aversion to facts. From what GOP faction might Trumpites come? The establishment? Social conservatives? Unlikely,” Will wrote.

His column called for Republicans to bar Trump outright and, by implication, the supporters Trump brought to the party from outside Will’s ken.

“A political party has a right to (in language Trump likes) secure its borders. Indeed, a party has a duty to exclude interlopers, including cynical opportunists deranged by egotism. This is why closed primaries, although not obligatory, are defensible: Let party members make the choices that define the party and dispense its most precious possession, a presidential nomination. So, the Republican National Committee should immediately stipulate that subsequent Republican debates will be open to any and all—but only—candidates who pledge to support the party’s nominee,” Will wrote.

The Republican Party wrote such a pledge, which Trump signed after wringing a few more news cycles of coverage out of the nontroversy.

Trump attributed Will’s contempt for him to the fact that Will’s wife worked for Scott Walker’s ill-fated presidential campaign. When the governor dropped out, he took with him any dreams Will may have had of an ambassadorship to Vanuatu. However, Will soldiered on, bless his heart.

“Certainly conservatives consider it crucial to deny the Democratic Party a third consecutive term controlling the executive branch. Extending from eight to 12 years its use of unbridled executive power would further emancipate the administrative state from control by either a withering legislative branch or a supine judiciary. But first things first. Conservatives’ highest priority now must be to prevent Trump from winning the Republican nomination in this, the GOP’s third epochal intraparty struggle in 104 years,” Will wrote on December 23.

He redefined conservatism as a Stop Trump movement. He became a reactionary who was willing to allow socialist Sanders become president to keep him and his friends in charge of the party.

“This is hardly the first time we have heard the United States singing lyrics like those of Trump’s curdled populism. Alabama Democrat George Wallace four times ran for president with salvos against Washington’s ‘briefcase totin’ bureaucrats’ who ‘can’t even park their bicycles straight.’ What is new is Trump promising, in the name of strength, to put the United States into a defensive crouch against ‘cunning’ Mexicans and others,” Will wrote on August 26.

A month later, Will felt frisky about the odds of Trump folding.

“It is, however, unclear that Trumpkins will all migrate to one candidate when their hero departs, strutting while slouching. And although deferring delights can be virtuous, nothing is now more virtuous than scrubbing, as soon as possible, the Trump stain from public life,” Will wrote on September 26.

However, the only thing scrubbed from public life were the names of Trump’s opponents from the list on the blackboard of candidates. Little Sir Donald proved the strongest man at last, about seventy proof.

And George Will couldn’t mend his pots without a little Trump hate.

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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

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.

10 comments:

  1. I will, on a very rare occasion now, read Will. If he pisses me off in the first sentence and I drop to the last sentence and he does the same thing, I stop reading.

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  2. I've given up on Will, as I have Peggy Noonan.

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  3. The Perrier Conservative was only useful at Newsweek or the WaPo.

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  4. will's column reads like it could have been written by one of the liberals trashing dc on inauguration day. Is he soros funded?

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  5. "When the governor dropped out, he took with him any dreams Will may have had of an ambassadorship to Vanuatu."

    Trust me, I've been to Vanuatu, and George Will would never want to be the US ambassador there! (LOL) Port Vila is not a town of great restaurants and refinement. But there are squatter tent camps on the town's outskirts where George could do some needed outreach for basic social services like running water and sewage. (Don't get me wrong. The people of Vanuatu are generally very nice, they make a good beer called Tusker, and the kava is especially strong.)

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  6. George Will has always reminded me of the Forties actor Clifton Webb ("Laura"), who Harvey Korman memorably satirized in the movie "Blazing Saddles," pratting on and on about his intelligence, innate good breeding and sense, yadyadayada. DJT seems to be the first person to point out that Emperor Will has no clothes, although his hosting of a dinner at his DC house after Øb☭ma was first elected (so Øb☭ma could tell the attendees to not listen to Neanderthals like Rush Limbaugh) should've told Republicans the guy only wanted to stay in tight with movers and shakers in Washington.
    -Fred

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  7. "When Will took umbrage"

    Careful, maaan. You take umbrage, soon you'll start snorting disdain, and before you know it, you'll be mainlining progressivism like zombie candidate Hillary.

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  8. Never trust a man that sleeps with and Roget's International Thesaurus and Bartlett's Familiar Quotations under his pillow.

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  9. Will needs to drop politics and write about baseball full time. I still wouldn't read him. IIRC, Will was against Reagan as well.

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