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Friday, March 25, 2016


What’s Wrong with the Establishment? - a reply to Jonathan Tobin

Why are they unable to come to grips with the fact that people have finally turned on them?  Part of the establishment – its Left wing – is always ready to ask, after each terrorist attack: “why do they hate us?”  It’s actually not a bad question.  It helps to understand your enemy and what motivates them.  But the Left asks the question because it believes that American history and its people are wicked and wants to atone for its manifold sins. 

But the Jonathan Tobin wing – the neo-conservative wing of the establishment - has not really bothered to ask that question: “why do so many of the American people rise up against us?”  It makes the unsupported assumption that its policies and attitudes are the right ones and those who disagree are wrong. 

The latest Tobin article is a case in point.  Trump’s Tweets and American Honor begins with the time-honored tradition of accusing your opponents of being bigoted racists who are also stupid.

Like a lot of other conservative political writers who are critical of Donald Trump, I get a lot of interesting comments from his fans. Some are profane. Others are anti-Semitic. Those comments demonstrate how much cognitive dissonance some people have to deal with. The fact that a lot of bigots and racists think Trump is grand in spite of his Jewish grandchildren and willingness to toe the line for Israel in his speech to AIPAC is inexplicable.

The problem with Tobin’s analysis – I prefer to call it dismissal – of the people he labels as bigots and racist is that he has the same understanding of character as writers of third-rate books and plays; cartoon cut-outs wearing black or white hats.  Anything more complex, more nuanced, does not compute.

And while you have your boogie-man handy, why not smear your target?

But, of course, their views are no more contradictory than those of their idol, a man who dog whistles about race and bias and encourages violence against foes while also claiming to be a guardian of the Constitution.

“Dog whistles” are one of those tools that were once the province of Liberals who label words like “hard work” to be racist.  Now that they have found a common enemy they have picked up the dog whistle tool and are “working hard” to use it. 

Note the other tool that Tobin borrows from the Leftist weapons cache, ignoring the riot but condemning the reaction to it.  For the record, Trump has been the victim of thugs (“thugs” is another “dog whistle” according to those in the know) who have violently disrupted peaceful rallies of Trump supporters.  Trump told his security people to remove the disrupters and said that at other times they would have been “carried out on a stretcher.”  After much provocation, one member of the Trump audience actually struck one of the thugs.  Apparently, Trump is not very good at encouraging violence if that’s all that happened after so much provocation.   But in Tobin’s world Trump is the violent one.

When asked for reasons other than the fact that Trump supporters are all racist bigots, Tobin explains that he’s wrong, wrong, wrong:

But the more interesting comments from Trump fans are those that seek an explanation for my aversion to their hero. The easy answer to their question has come in dozens of pieces in which I’ve examined his lack of understanding of the issues, his substituting empty slogans for policy, his lack of respect for the Constitution, and his wrongheaded approach to foreign policy and economic issues. While he doesn’t seem to have any firm principles or ideology, he does seem to gravitate toward dangerous isolationist and protectionist ideas that are a prescription for disaster.

Which really doesn’t get to the question of why Trump is popular.  In between being just plain wrong about everything, is Trump addressing issues that Tobin as left unaddressed?  Despite the endless pieces that Tobin says he’s written that are right about the issues, he still has not managed to convince Trump supporters that he – Tobin – has the answers, the solutions that Trump supporters want. 
But wait, we’re not through.  Not only is Trump wrong, wrong, dangerously wrong on the issues.  He’s just not “our kind.”  Think I’m kidding?  Here’s Tobin:

But some readers dismiss these substantive disagreements and demand that I tell them what’s really eating at me about Trump. They also wonder if I’m judging them by treating the man of the hour as beneath my standards.

It’s evident that Tobin is not a big fan of democracy or elections.  Now, after Obama’s election, I was unhappy with the result.  I believed then that Obama was elected because he was a blank canvas, using “Hope and change” as a slogan into which anyone could project their own wishes.  However, Tobin exhibits exactly the kind of moral and intellectual superiority that has made his class despised.  He accuses Trump of gaining popularity on the backs of weak-minded individuals.  Let’s face it, what Tobin is referring to is White working class people.  These are people who had been abandoned by both the Left and the Right in favor of appealing to Latino and Black constituencies.  How many times have we heard that white working class (often labelled “angry white men”) are the past; the future belongs to Latino, Black, Muslim – the wave of the future. 

That Trump has harnessed the anger of a lot of voters may justify his behavior for some, but I don’t follow that reasoning. The Founders of our republic worried about the people being swayed by those who preyed upon the weaknesses of their fellow citizens.

You can be sure that if Jeb! had gotten the kind of pol numbers that Trump has, Tobin would have hailed the wisdom of his backers.
So, yes, dear Trump fans, it’s not just that your candidate is wrong on the issues. Sure, Obama is a terrible president on vacation from history, and Hillary Clinton has legal issues and is utterly inauthentic, as well as wrong on most of the issues. We’ve always had our share of lousy leaders, and we’re sure to get more. Democracy is like that. But Americans should also want a president who is a man of honor that deserves respect in the mold of the greats that we rightly revere. At the very least, we should want someone that will try to follow in their footsteps and treat the office and the political process with dignity and decency. Character should also count. If we don’t think that’s important anymore, then the fault is not only with Trump but also with us.

Who’s this “us” Tobin?  The fault is with you.  The reason that revolutions occur is that the Ruling Class forgets what the country class suffer.  People who write magazine articles would not be caught dead working on an assembly line for a living.  So when the assembly line – the job that paid the food and the mortgage moves to Mexico – it destroys the livelihood of the worker.  For the theoretician, the magazine writer, it’s the idea for another article.

The idea that Tobin’s kids make a living stocking the shelves at Kroger would make his hair stand on end.  They assumed that they were the natural leaders of the people, and when the people no longer follow, it’s the people’s fault. 

Yes, we want distinguished, nice, dignified people in office.  But Romney lost.  And it was largely because he was nice, dignified and completely out of touch with the concerns those people on the assembly line, the store shelf stockers, the truck drivers had. 

We are living in dangerous times with mass migration from some of the most dangerous parts of the planet.  Politically these are revolutionary times because the Ruling Class can’t seem to cope or denies there’s a problem.  Getting blown up is not an existential threat to President Obama with his lifetime protective detail.  It is to ordinary people getting on a train or a plane, or sitting down at a party. 

Sometimes revolutions are managed by the political aristocracy.  But they often attract a rough crowd, people who have lost it all and have nothing more to lose.  People who have been told they are the past and are no longer important.  People who have been yelled at and spit at, who have seen too many middle fingers thrust in their faces by people who have been pandered to by the Ruling Class.  And when they strike back, even once, they are accused by the Tobins of this world being the violent ones. 

Here's a clue to Jonathan Tobin, even though you may think of yourself as a conservative gunslinger, here's what people are asking as you pen your latest article ...

America to Establishment: Who the hell are you people?

To paraphrase a famous line from The Princess Bride: “inexplicable?”  Jonathan,  I don’t think that word means what you think it means. 

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They also appear to have never learned any lessons from their negative experience with the Germans in Europe during the 1930's and early 1940's. They are repeating the same behavior patterns in the United States.
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