I missed this when it was fresh:
Welcome to a world without rules. (I want you to read this paragraph in your super-scary movie trailer voice.) Welcome to a world in which families are mowed down by illegal immigrants, in which cops die in the streets, in which Muslims rampage the innocents and threaten our very way of life, in which the fear of violent death lurks in every human heart.
Sometimes in that blood-drenched world a dark knight arises. You don’t have to admire or like this knight. But you need this knight. He is your muscle and your voice in a dark, corrupt and malevolent world.
Such has been the argument of nearly every demagogue since the dawn of time. Aaron Burr claimed Spain threatened the U.S in 1806. A. Mitchell Palmer exaggerated the Red Scare in 1919 and Joe McCarthy did it in 1950.
And such was Donald Trump’s law-and-order argument in Cleveland on Thursday night. This was a compelling text that turned into more than an hour of humorless shouting. It was a dystopian message that found an audience and then pummeled them to exhaustion.
(David Brooks, 7/22/16) But I caught this one fresh:
Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.
Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.
He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.
Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries ….
(7/28/16) That’s just the warm-up. I mustn’t quote the full thing, but you can go read it.
It seems to me that the press bias against all things Republican has been unusually stark this year. But is it really “bias” if it’s reasoned, and not both preconceived and unreasoning? In a quadrennium when the GOP nominee is so execrable that many traditional Republican leaders stayed away from the national convention, there’s a rare, nearly unanimous consensus against Trump among the people whose opinions make it into print or into thoughtful TV interviews.
It’s a shame that the issues Trump exploited — I’m basically thinking of concerns of the economic losers in America, who may be wrong about why they’re losing, but know darned well that they’re mostly forgotten — will carry stigma for a while because of the association with him as their champion.
In one ironic sense, the Democrat convention was the insane one: Hillary promises to keep on doing the same things but with a different and better result. At least Trump was offering something different — really, really different.
I refused to wallow in the television coverage of either convention, but in retrospect, I wish I’d known to watch Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim soldier killed serving the U.S., telling Trump “You have sacrificed nothing.”
The big thing we found out in the convention is exactly how Democrats will attempt to dismantle Mr. Trump piece by piece. He’s not just reckless, he’s ridiculous—a fraud in business, a screwball, unserious and uninformed about policy. They’ll try to drive him crazy, too, quite deliberately. They’ll do this not by quoting him accurately and denouncing his views, but by misquoting him, putting a twist on what he said, and then denouncing him. They’ll try to get him to whine, whinge, blow his top. They’re doing it already, to their profit. They’ll play the picador tormenting the bull, goading him, weakened, into an unfortunate charge.
(Peggy Noonan) Does anyone doubt that Donald “my hands may be small but there’s no trouble down there” Trump will take the bait?
The real question is whether Hillary will querulously take the bait when he fires back. He is masterful at that petty art.
Of Catholic Tim Kaine and ex-Catholic Mike Pence:
Has the U.S. accepted Catholics, or has it merely accepted Catholics who, when their progressive politics conflict with church doctrine, simply subordinate their religious beliefs? This is the key question for modern Catholic engagement in civic life. Unfortunately, it seems that many Catholics have abandoned the distinctive contributions they bring, in favor of blending in with modern progressivism.
Consider Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine. The two vice-presidential candidates are white men born in the 1950s, with deep Catholic and Democratic roots. They’ve been described by colleagues as kind and thoughtful, but they still diverge in significant ways.
Surely Mr. Kaine can’t claim to be a “Pope Francis Catholic” on abortion. The notion that a Catholic can be “personally” opposed to abortion while supporting laws that legalize the procedure is simply inconsistent with Catholic teaching. It conflicts not only with Pope Francis but with 2,000 years of tradition. The Virginia senator’s recent decision to reverse his longstanding support for the Hyde Amendment, which limits public funding for abortion, puts even greater distance between him and the pontiff.
Key doctrinal and moral rules apply to all Catholics in all contexts—in business, at home, or in elective office. One cannot “personally” oppose something while making a living advocating it.
By contrast, Mr. Pence made a more dramatic decision to leave the Catholic Church during his college years. While painful for me to hear as a priest, it represents a certain honesty. Having found himself in disagreement with some of the church’s fundamental teaching, Mr. Pence accepted that he was no longer in communion with it. He didn’t pretend that he was, nor did he twist the church’s rules to conform to his own worldview.
There was an old joke that made the rounds in seminaries some years ago: What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant? The Protestant has integrity.
He’s a racist! He’s a demagogue! He’s authoritarian! His presidency could deliver a fatal blow to the Constitution!
This is all true of Donald Trump. The problem is, Democrats have been saying it’s true of nearly every prominent Republican for the past 30 years …
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, in politics, all sides are guilty of exaggerated claims and unfair attacks. But there’s a particular tendency on the left to portray opponents as not just wrong but evil, and in a unique way. It’s an offshoot of Krauthammer’s Second Law that “conservatives think liberals are misguided; liberals think conservatives are evil.”
(Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Democrats have a ‘crying wolf’ problem)
Krauthammer presumably postulated his Second Law before Obama’s inauguration. I’ve been complaining of Obama Derangement Syndrome, a reverse mirror-image of Bush Derangement Syndrome, for as long as I’ve been blogging.
In Cleveland vs. Philadelphia, Pat Buchanan steps away from his Trump puffery (it’s weird how varied the voices are at the American Conservative) for a pretty balanced assessment.
After liveblogging Hillary’s acceptance speech, Rod Dreher concludes “I need a drink. Of hemlock.”
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)