Monday, November 14, 2016


...about the brethren's reaction to the Trumpening. The focus is on the Trump skeptics who are now beginning their great suck-up. Some of them are pretending to be wary, but you know the old song: Their lips say no but their eyes say yes.

Watch what they do with Trump's appointment of Breitbart /alt-right kingpin Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist. Even wingnut rageclowns like Kurt Schlichter are complaining; Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson are cabinet material, but the pied piper of Nazi frogs makes the thing look bad.

But don't worry, Bannon's being normalized already. See Philip Wegmann at the Washington Examiner, who describes the struggle between the "establishment" and this crypto-Nazi creep as if it were a Hollywood catfight: "But if there's a fight, they will throw their weight behind the brawler from Breitbart," "the two champions have now entered the cliché Thunderdome," etc. The headline, "Tea Party bets big on Steve Bannon," refers to the Tea Party Patriots, a pack of grifters who skinned supporters so badly that, frankly, I've surprised they still meet even the drastically forgiving standards of the modern conservative movement.

So the brethren will come around, especially after the first time Bannon's strike force destroys (perhaps literally) some liberal who gives Trump a hard time. Then there'll be someone else to deplore -- maybe George Lincoln Rockwell IV -- until he makes his bones, etc.

The elevation of Bannon reminds me of the famous criticism Steve Jobs had of Xerox under John Sculley from PepsiCo:
So the people who make the company more successful are the sales and marketing people, and they end up running the companies. And the ‘product people’ get run out of the decision-making forums. The companies forget how to make great products. 
Conservatism doesn't do anything real for the American people anymore, so they're promoting their marketing people.

There were many outtakes from the column. I really wanted to fit in Reason magazine's podcast, “The Case for Optimism About Trump's Presidency,” in which Nick Gillespie interviewed libertarians on various Trump policy predictions.  One, Thaddeus Russell, was thrilled Newt Gingrich would be part of the Administration.  I know what you guys are thinking -- why is a libertarian backing an interventionist lunatic? True, Russell said, Gingrich is “a sociopath, generally," but he has “thoroughly repudiated neoconservatism and foreign military interventions generally” and admitted “the Bush Doctrine was a disaster.” And if you can’t trust Newt Gingrich to see the light, who can you trust?

Russell, who giggled nervously throughout his interview (and, whether it was nerves or drugs, who could blame him), also said in some respects “Trump’s foreign policy will be equally bad as Obama’s or worse” and that Trump will “let Putin have what he wants in Eastern Europe" but, on the bright side, “Trump is the first president to call bullshit on that claim that we have any moral reason to help anyone in the rest of the world,” so his foreign policy will be better than Hillary Clinton’s, which Russell had previously called “dangerously coherent.”

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute was glad Trump wants to destroy Obamacare, but worried that Republicans might try to keep the ban on refusing people with pre-existing conditions, which Cannon called “price controls that prohibit insurance companies from charging actuarily fair premiums if people switch plans.” (“So it’s kind of like rent control for health care!”  a-ha’d Gillespie.) On SCOTUS, Randy Barnett predicted that Trump would appoint judges “more in the mold of Justice Thomas but perhaps even more so than he.” I tell you, the only thing that keeps libertarians from losing even their current tiny market share is the fact that no one besides me listens to these things.

Do read the column, though.

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