Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

02/08/18 Angry Reader

From An Angry Reader:

I initially became interested in your work after your podcast interview with Dan Carlin many years ago. The need to engage in a priori reasoning is an important lesson. It is disappointing that you have forgotten this lesson in your many defenses of Trump and your unhinged criticisms of Barack Obama. Most telling is how you criticized Obama (multiple times in print) of once pronouncing corpsman wrong while Trump is given a pass for savaging a gold star family and criticizing prisoners of war as losers who got caught. Let us hope you can regain your senses.

Rajdeep Kandola

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Dear Angry Reader Rajdeep Kandola,

“Unhinged”? “Prescient” is a better adjective for my summations of Obama’s tenure. Aside from never achieving 3% GDP annualized growth, eroding deterrence abroad, doubling the national debt, creating a dysfunctional health care system, the tragic Libyan misadventure, the Iran deal, the sudden appearance of North Korean nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles, and the alphabet scandals (GSA, IRS, DOJ, VA, etc.), we now learn that the Obama DOJ and FBI (Comey, McCabe, Miller, Ohr, Page, Strzok, etc.) for political purposes likely peddled a bought Clinton hit piece, dressed it up with administration authentication, lied to FISA judges to use it as a means to spy on the Trump campaign to alter an election, and then had top security officials (Rice, Brennan, Rhodes, Power, etc.) requesting FISA transcripts, unmasking names, and leaking them to the press—again, all to warp an election and then to undermine a new presidency. “Unhinged” is apt for those not bothered by that—and far more to come.

I think if you really read what I have written about Trump, I have stated often that he can be cruel, crass, and buffoonish. But he made no claims otherwise; Obama, remember, alleged that he had the powers to lower the oceans and cool the planet, that he was smarter in each field than his subordinates, and was called a “god” by the press, often on the basis of his pants’ crease or tingling-inspired fits. The question is not whether I have criticized Trump, but rather have you been bothered by Obama’s jokes about the Special Olympics, or his boast to “get in their faces” and to “punish our enemies”? Trump the supposedly callous moron has helped lower black unemployment to its lowest levels in a mere year; Obama the mellifluous and caring social justice warrior saw middle-class income erode and the economy stall, with disastrous results for those in-between the two globalized coasts.

So you miss the point: Trump is a Manhattan real estate developer without political experience. Voters entrusted him with the presidency for two reasons: 1) they felt Hillary was far more dangerous (born out by subsequent post-election revelations), and Trump’s can-do business experience and conservative agenda outweighed his pathologies (in the way Lincoln overlooked Grant’s embarrassing drinking on the job given his ability to win battles, or, to liberal insiders, JFK’s serial and callous womanizing did not detract from his Camelot presidency). But with Obama, there were pretensions of a legal scholar (who bypassed Congress to issue executive orders that he once said were improper, bypassed the Senate to cut de facto treaties with Iran, and had aides all but destroy the FISA process). With a booming economy and superb national security appointees, voters could put up with Trump’s not knowing details, but when the scholar Obama does not know where the Maldives are or how to pronounce “corpsmen,” then he suffers the additional wage of hypocritical pretension and is without the redeeming accomplishment of a strong economy and a strong deterrent foreign policy. In other words, when I see a pretentious and pedantic professor quote Greek wrongly, I am bothered; I am not so bothered by the skillful truck-driver who knows no Greek at all even if he would claim otherwise.

Victor Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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