Tuesday, November 24, 2015


One thing I didn't make too much of in this week's column (though I teased it out a bit here) is the rush among conservatives to defend Donald Trump's ravings about Muslims. Instapundit stringer Ed Driscoll pushes the line that, though there mmmmmaybe weren't "thousands and thousands" of Muslim-Americans cheering 9/11 in Jersey City, Muslims were cheering in the Middle East, which proves media bias, therefore Trump is right where it counts -- that is, he could, in Driscoll's estimation, beat Hillary Clinton (to whom Driscoll compares Trump, in the fine, incoherent tradition of modern conservatives eager to tar their opponents by free-association):
Both [Clinton and Trump] in their own way are prone to speak in outrageous hyperbole because they have little fear of serious repercussions from their wild utterances. But as Steyn writes, given a choice between two crazed exaggerations — one where “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrated on September 11th and another where “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” and given our current president’s ongoing escape into fantasyland, who would you count on to keep you safe in the coming years?
Sounds like Driscoll's thinking the once-unthinkable about Candidate Trump. Oh, and guess who else is? National Review's Rich Lowry, who once teased Trump that Carly Fiorina had cut his balls off, has a column up called "Donald Trump — The Jacksonian Candidate." "Jacksonian" is wingnut code for "white people who don't give a shit who has to die to keep their asses in Barcaloungers," and Lowry is downright respectful toward its new avatar:
Finally, national honor is a paramount value for Jacksonians, a concern that can be heard in Trump’s signature promise to make America great again. He will out-bully and out-fox our adversaries and, as for ISIS, he will bomb and water-board it into submission.

It is tempting to see Donald Trump as something wholly new, the reality star who represents the merger of entertainment and popular culture. He is also something centuries old, the populist railing against a corrupt and ineffectual elite that will, through his chastisement, get the comeuppance it deserves.
Cutting your balls one minute, sucking them the next, these people.

This Strange New Respect for Trump owes much to the temper of the times: Since the Paris attacks, conservatives have been doing their damnedest to re-instill in voters the 9/11 fear that stood them so well in the Bush years. Though they have had their problems with Trump in the past, Il Douche is great for fear-mongering and projecting an image of Making Things Happen By Being Rich and Barking Orders (or, as conservatives know it, strength).

But I think there's more to it than that. Even Trump's non-fans are being extraordinarily gentle with him. Others have noted how media outlets are reluctant to call Trump a liar even when he self-evidently lies. At Commentary, John Podhoretz talks about all the "entirely impressionistic memories" that went on around in New York shortly after 9/11 (though I vas dere, Cholly, and don't recall anything like that), and compares Trump's Jersey City cheering-Muslims bullshit to that:
So, to sum up: There were many hysterical and made-up stories afoot in New York City during that week and the weeks after. People believed anything they were told, and others simply made stuff up... Which suggests not so much that Trump deliberately told a lie in order to rev up a crowd – but rather that he’s very, very gullible.
Actually, Trump claiming to see something that reflects outrageously badly on Muslim-Americans when it didn't actually happen is the opposite of gullibility -- it's mendacity counting on the gullibility of others. It's not even like Podhoretz is covering for some idiot relative with a penchant for story-telling -- he's defending Donald fucking Trump with this well-ya-gotta-understand guff.

I think they've tipped over from Trump-can't-win-if-we-all-growl-at-him to this watery state, soon to be followed by "What sort of President will Trump be?" articles. There are only three things that motivate these people to this kind of behavior: love (ha); fear (def); and money (or the promise thereof in the Treasury-looting Trump Administration).

UPDATE. Allow me to quote me! From Nov. 4, after the CNBC-was-mean-to-us scandal:
As I've said before, in these guys' world truth is no defense against accusations of media bias. I'm not sure the Trump juggernaut can endure long enough to panic some of them into a Strange New Respect for Il Douche, but it would almost be worth a Trump Administration to see it. I mean, the country's fucked anyway, right?
UPDATE 2. Jim Geraghty is trying to preserve some plausible deniability on the Jersey City Jihad thing. Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds has his own, rickety spin:
JIM GERAGHTY: Why the Facts of American Muslims and 9/11 Matter. “We cannot be a party or a movement that gets its understanding of the world from chain-e-mails from Uncle Leo.” 
I dunno, it worked okay for Obama. And I think anger at that fact is why so many people don’t care about Trump’s various excesses. You want no rules? Okay! No rules it is! That’s not good for the country, of course, but then, few of Obama’s legacies are.
Not only is Trump Obama's fault, so are "chain-e-mails from Uncle Leo." But this is of course an old racket for both Geraghty and Reynolds.

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