Comment from a Reader:
Donald Trump’s campaign statements have consisted of proposals including, but not limited to:
Violation of the NATO treaty by threatening to withhold assistance from allies based on alleged financial discrepancies;
Ordering the US Military to commit first-degree murder of non-combatant civilians (“take out the families” of suspected terrorists) — a war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions;
Commandeering private and public property in Iraq; specifically, the seizure of their oil fields, pumping equipment, and crude oil — in other words, “pillaging” of conquered territory, which is another war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions;
Violation of Amendment One of the Constitution (freedom of the press) – specifically, threatening prosecution against journalists who publish information with which he disagrees;
Violation of Amendment One (freedom of religion) – specifically, requiring Muslim-Americans to carry identification cards listing their religion;
Violation of Amendments Five and Six – specifically, trying American Citizens via Military Commissions at Guantanamo, Cuba detention facility;
Utilizing the Justice Department as a tool of personal vengeance, including the unprecedented and reprehensible threat to jail his opponent if he should be elected.
The above conduct, were Trump to be elected and follow through on these proposals, would comprise a minimum of seven separate, actionable offenses, including Violation of International Law; Breach of Ratified Treaty; Defying the US Constitution; and Abuse of Presidential Power.
This list does not even touch on his not-illegal but nonetheless shocking displays of racism; his slightly oblique (but certainly successful) exhortations to violence at several of his campaign rallies; and his boasting of, and history of, sexual predation upon women.
A person who votes for a candidate whose campaign rhetoric indicates willingness, even eagerness, to break the law is either insane, hopelessly uneducated, or willingly complicit in the crimes. I’d say that multiple-choice array gives a pretty good clue as to where you stand.
I have long restrained myself from using the “F” word when it comes to a number of the farther-right politicians and commentators in this country, figuring that reasonable minds can disagree.
No more. Not this time. Not with this candidate, and not when you write something like this:
“… if he were to win, he might usher in the most conservative Congress, presidency, and Supreme Court in nearly a century.”
Knock off the feeble attempts at subterfuge. You don’t mean “conservative,” and we both know it.
You are a fascist. And drowning people in would-be-Buckley word avalanches of self-justification, and hiding behind a variety of fake palliatives like economic arguments does not hide that.
You have no scruples whatsoever to back such a man.
I suggest you consider writing your future columns under the pen name of Philippe Pétain.
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Dear Angry Reader Tom Edwards:
It is always enjoyable to read an unprincipled and emotional leftist rant that suggests the moral high ground as the requisite excuse for descending into the swamp of calling someone a fascist.
I have many disagreements with both Hillary supporters and NeverTrump Republicans—and Trump himself, but I don’t question their motives: if you prefer a liberal agenda, then by all means vote for Hillary and swallow her criminality; if you find Trump too vulgar and inexperienced, then simply do not vote for him. Neither is a fascist position. Nor is voting for him the lesser of two evils.
The adolescent angry reader is incapable of such disinterested views.
He also engages in projection (in the order he presented his “charges”):
Freedom of religion: Trump was quite wrong in his initial statement to ban entry from the war-torn Middle East on the basis of religion (although Christian Middle Easterners are less likely to be ISIS operatives); he was certainly correct, however, to use locale as a criterion (curtail all immigration for everyone from Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. until we can properly vet applicants). On the topic of religious liberty, remember how the Obama administration sought to force the Catholic “Little Sisters of the Poor” to include a contraceptive clause in their health care plans contrary to their religious beliefs? The Podesta trove, likewise, reminds us how the Left sought to undermine the Catholic Church which it wrote off as medieval. Trump has not predicated relief for the dying (re: Haiti) on a contractor’s past contributions to the Clinton Foundation. He has not horse-traded with the FBI, hoping to have documents reclassified in exchange for space at US embassies abroad.
On murder: Hillary Clinton (“I don’t recall…”) as Secretary of State according to more than one witness pondered the possibility of droning ( = assassinating) Julian Assange—but only when his Wikileaks project was damaging her own campaign. Barack Obama, remember, joked about droning possible suitors of his daughter. Funny stuff, blowing up someone from above?
On the 1st Amendment: a video maker was jailed by the Obama administration on the trumped up charge of inciting a riot abroad (proven false); AP reporters had their communications tapped by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. It is now apparently banal (Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u”) for journalists to send their stories first to the Clinton campaign to have them approved or for an operative to leak debate questions to the preferred candidate. “Equal Protection Under the Law” has become satire when one compares the criminal prosecutions of high-ranking military officers for leaking sensitive documents, after the Hillary immunity for doing far more damage.
Violation of American citizens’ rights: I think droning an American citizen is a bit harsher than interrogating one at Guantanamo. As far as citizens’ rights, the abuse under Lois Lerner at the IRS was aimed at denying US citizens’ their free speech rights.
Personal vengeance? Does the author remember the bullying tactics of press coordination with the White House of JournoList? The jailing of Dinesh D’Souza? Nakoula Basselely Nakoula?
The author is incapable of comparing the agendas of the candidates and making comparisons (in this particular election) between their positions on the issues; instead we resort to the subjunctive mood to worry what Trump might do when we know what Clinton has done.
As far as the other boilerplate: Trump campaign rallies? Maybe I missed the story of the resignation of Trump goons (frequent White House visitors?) who confessed to trying to stage riot and violence at Clinton rallies? I deplore racist language, but remember unfortunately the president’s “typical white person,” and Hillary’s 2008 appeal to “white Americans,” and the Harry Reid/Joe Biden discourse about “clean” blacks without “negro” accents.
The law? This administration had broken the law with executive orders nullifying current immigration statutes, by allowing 300 entities to declare themselves “sanctuaries” immune from ICE jurisdiction, or to reorder creditors in bankruptcy laws; but that is minor in comparison to subverting the government email system, ranking times for personal appointments by payoffs, or divvying up federal contracts on the basis of donations.
In sum, the author believes like Hillary Clinton that half of those with whom he disagrees are “deplorables,” and it is just such sanctimoniousness that leads to the sort of constitutional abuse witnessed during the last 8 years and throughout the Wikileaks trove. “Knock off the subterfuge:” you are not liberal-minded, merely confused, sadly uniformed—and strangely quite emotional as well.
I feel quite sorry for you. I mean that sincerely as well.
Comment from a Reader:
“But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women”
TRUMP DID NOT TALK CRUDELY ABOUT WOMEN ON THIS TAPE- HE TALKED ABOUT HIS RIGHT AS A CELEBRITY TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN!!!
YOUR CONFLATING THE TWO IS UNBELIEVABLE. IF YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER ASK HER IF SHE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE.
IN DOING SO YOU ENABLE MEN OUT THERE TO DO WHAT HE BRAGS ABOUT. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS?
OH YEH, BEING A REPUBLICAN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ENCOURAGING MEN TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN. SEE HOW YOU FEEL IF YOU, YOUR DAUGHTER OR SISTER IS GRABBED BY THE GENITALIA AND SOMEONE SAYS WELL TRUMP SAYS ITS OK.
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Dear Angry Reader Feig,
Spare me the bottled, adolescent capital-letter piety. The choice for now is between a repulsive-speaking Trump, the blowhard, and Clinton, who, to keep on your topic of sexual assault, chortled over her ability to get a child rapist off with a light sentence (a real, not a rhetorical victim), and who habitually denigrated women who were sexually assaulted by her husband, and whose campaign is being aided on stump by both Al Gore (the “crazed sex poodle” accused of sexual assault in a motel room) and her husband, who was disbarred due to lying about just one of his serial sexual assaults.
Both are flawed candidates, but the election hinges on which of their respective agendas are more likely to lead to greater security, legality and prosperity for most Americans. In that 51/49% world, Trump’s hypothetical agenda is preferable to Clinton’s actual.
Given your sanctimonious sermonizing, ‘how can you not see this’? Hillary Clinton reportedly dreamed of “droning” Julian Assange. In other words, the Secretary of States envisioned assassinating a figure she found dangerous to her campaign. If that is not morally repugnant enough for you, how dare you vote for someone who felt adjudicating contracts for Haitian relief depended on cash contributions (trafficking in lives for money)? I could go on, but you get the contrast from the hypothetical reprehensible in the subjunctive versus the actual past reprehensible in the indicative.
I find your moral blinkers “unbelievable”.
I do not habitually, as your wont, impugn the motives of those like you who will vote for a serial liar, extortionist, criminal, and hypocrite, given I assume that they feel her flaws do not detract enough from her progressive agenda which they favor; so, given the wart on your nose, do not slight the pimple on someone else’s cheek. Finally, what makes you think I am a registered Republican?
I would indeed warn my daughter about a probable sexual grabber like Donald Trump—but especially a sexual assaulter like Al Gore, and a rapist like Bill Clinton—and in particular a legal and emotional enabler of rape like Hillary Clinton.
Comment from a Reader:
Maybe you can become his campaign manager now. That is, if you can get him to sit still long enough for you to explain to him who Bull Halsey is.
Comment from a Reader:
Dear Mr. Hanson;
I left the Republican Party soon after watching eight years of ineffective “leadership” by Mitch McConnell, John Bohner, and now Paul Ryan. But the tipping point came when Trump was nominated for president. I cannot belong to a political party that would nominate an ignoramus and blowhard who has no interest in America other than how it can enrich him.
Trump has the mentality of a not-very-bright 8 year old. I am sad to witness people like Dennis Prager, Bill Bennett, Ann Coulter, you, and many others I formerly respected who are now in thrall to the unsophisticated and ignorant Trump.
The GOP is finished. Conservatives and those who love and respect our Constitution must form a new organization to push back against institutional Leftism. Trump is the last person we need to lead that movement.
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
The use of the adjectival phrase “in thrall” has no support in anything I wrote about Trump, my least favorite of the 16 primary alternatives, and reflects poorly on both the reasoning and character of the Angry Reader. Unfortunately, I live in the real world of 51/49% in which there are usually bad and worse choices. In that context, the specter of a 8-year Clinton continuum to Obama’s two terms is truly frightening. I suggest Mr. Nernoff review the latest Wikileaks trove and then collate it with prior hacked Clinton emails and Foundation business. “Unsophisticated and Ignorant” Hillary certainly is not. But I might prefer in our Manichean world of 2016 unsophistication to unconstitutional criminality and inveterate lying. If you seek monuments to why Hillary should not reach the White House, simply look around you from the carcass of the Middle East to a soon to be nuclear Iran to war drums from North Korea to Moscow—all a topping to a wrecked health care system, $11 trillion in new debt, and the corruption of once hallowed institutions from the IRS to the FBI. There is a 51% great likelihood that a president Trump would bring in far more conservatives than would Hillary Clinton; sometimes that is all we get.
Comment on: Is Trump Admiral Bull Halsey of Captain Queeg?
October 4, 2016
So—you tuned in hoping to see “Bull” Halsey? I suppose that was a reasonable expectation if the following propositions were true:
1. “Bull” Halsey was a draft dodger.
2. “Bull” Halsey was a cheat.
- “Bull” Halsey was a four-flusher.
- “Bull” Halsey was an ignoramus.
- “Bull” Halsey got his information from “the shows.”
I could go on—in fact, I could go on and on and on—but I hope you get the point. It’s that I’ve never seen this amount of self-delusion in one place at one time before. The mere act of instituting that comparison means your judgment ranks at zero, now and forever.
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
I wrote in the column that conservatives—not myself as you write—probably tuned into to see Trump as a Bull Halsey-like character, not as Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny. You do not understand the craft of allusion, metaphor, or simile. I suggested that Trump supporters probably thought he would come out in the first debate in speech and candor as aggressive and tough, in the manner that Admiral William “Bull” Halsey often employed tough rhetoric in World War II. Instead, I suggested that Trump’s confused debate performance reminded one of the neurotic fictional character Captain Queeg of the classic movie The Caine Mutiny, who melted down in courtroom rants about the trivial.
You strangely object to that narrow comparison because you seem to think that the life Trump has lived does not match the heroism of Halsey. True, but my limited comparison was to the impulsive Halsey’s combative language, not inclusive relative morality. According to your simplistic logic, Trump commensurately also could not be compared to the neurotic Queeg because Queeg never existed—he was first a fictional and later a cinematic character. So I am also not allowed to note the comparison between Trump and Queeg because it would be unfair to the non-person Queeg: the phantom of literature and film whose made-up life might not have been akin to Trump, the “four-flusher”?
The arrogance and puerility of your angry letter (“It’s that I’ve never seen this amount of self-delusion in one place at one time before. The mere act of instituting that comparison means your judgment ranks at zero, now and forever.”) only add to your utter confusion about comparisons to limited rhetorical characteristics of real and fictional characters.
Finally, if I were to say on occasion that Mitt Romney was Kennedyesque, in some of his better rhetorical moments, would the blinkered Acker then object that the comparison between the morally upright Romney and the dissolute and often abhorrent sexual practices of John F. Kennedy made the narrow rhetorical allusion unfair to Romney?
In sum, the angry letter is utterly incoherent, reminding us that ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination.