Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Author Archives: 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.

Angry Reader 01-08-2020

From An Angry Reader:

You are doing the same thing you claim Maddow is doing. Aren’t you an elite grouper, just on the other side of Maddow? You left out many facts in your article. You need to look in the mirror. You are old enough to know better. America needs to unite, what are you thinking? How are you making things better?

Dear Angry Reader Dr. Stady,

If you would just list one example in which I have erred about the dossier or the impeachment melodrama, you might be more believable. When I have appeared on television, I have tried to provide examples and facts to support what I have said, and I have done so without ad hominem attacks. Rachel Maddow, in contrast, invested her credibility in the Steele dossier for months; during that period a variety of disinterested journalists and observers had pointed out that Steele’s main contentions, from Mr. Cohen going to Prague to Carter Page being promised a huge multimillion payoff from the Russians, were simply false, well aside from the salacious fables. But Maddow and others continued to peddle such fantasies because they found them useful to their larger agendas of removing Trump. Don’t believe me, simply read the current series in the liberal Washington Post about the unprofessionalism of the media in its use of the dossier and the “collusion” fabrications.

Again, when you accuse me of omitting facts, and yet cannot produce a single example, then you fall into the same fallacy as all the others who refuse to look at unpleasant realities. As far as uniting the country, I think you need to look at the Left for the present acrimony. I opposed most of Obama’s policies, but I never would consider calling for violence against him, as is now a common Hollywood trope in the case of Trump. Obama used the DOJ to go after journalists, the IRS to hound political opponents, and allowed the FBI and CIA to surveil a political opponent in his last year in office. He bypassed the Senate to ram through the disastrous Iran treaty, and empowered Vladimir Putin with 5 years of disastrous reset appeasement, which included a hot mic quid pro quo deal with the Russians about dismantling US missile defense in Europe in exchange for Putin’s good behavior during his own reelection. All that was reprehensible and yet I don’t think impeachable—at least I never called for Obama’s impeachment or censure, even when by executive fiat he simply granted amnesties and stopped enforcing immigration laws—in a manner he had earlier warned was either illegal or unethical.

The country is disunited. But the venom came from those who called the middle classes, deplorables, irredeemables, crazies, and dregs. And thus I suggest you redirect your concerns to the Left and ask them to turn down the heat and simply seek to persuade Americans of their cause in November 2020, rather than engage in the current celebrity assassination chic, the psychodramas of invoking the 25th Amendment, the Mueller circus, and now the suspended-in-animation impeachment.

Victor Davis Hanson

Why Trump will win again in 2020

Victor Davis Hanson // Spectator USA

My reasons for thinking Trump was going to be elected in 2016 were entirely unscientific. One of my Hoover Institution colleagues recently reminded me of my data-free, amateurish and bothersome predictions. I teach for three weeks at Hillsdale College every September during my vacation from the Hoover Institution. Each morning I try to ride a bike 15-18 miles out into the Michigan countryside. I have been doing that since 2004. Over the previous 12 years even this conservative rural Michigan county had showed no real excitement over George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney. But in 2016, Trump signs — both professionally made and hand-painted — had sprouted everywhere, on barns, lawns and sheds. Whatever Trumpism was, lots of southern Michiganders seemed ready for it. Six weeks ago, I rode the identical rural Michigan routes. Sometimes I stopped and talked to a few people. The script was almost predictable. After the requisite throat-clearing — ‘Trump should cut back on the tweeting,’ they said — they were even more eager to vote for him this time than last.

In my hometown near my central California farm, I spent autumn 2016 talking to mostly Mexican American friends with whom I went to grammar or high school. I had presumed then that they must hate Trump. Remember the speech in 2015 announcing he was going to stand, when he bashed illegal immigration, or his snide quip about the ‘Mexican judge’ in the Trump University lawsuit, or his expulsion of an interrupting Univision anchor, Jorge Ramos, from one of his campaign press conferences? But I heard no such thing. Most said they ‘liked’ Trump’s style, whether or not they were voting for him. They were tired of gangs in their neighborhoods and of swamped government services — especially the nearby Department of Motor Vehicles — becoming almost dysfunctional. I remember thinking that Trump of all people might get a third of the Latino vote: of no importance in blue California, but maybe transformative in Midwest swing states?

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Victor Davis Hanson: Rachel Maddow, Robert Mueller’s legal dream team, Paul Krugman all have lessons for 2020

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

The Washington Post recently published a surprising indictment of MSNBC host, Stanford graduate and Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow.

Post media critic Erik Wemple wrote that Maddow misled her audience by claiming the now-discredited Steele dossier was largely verifiable — even at a time when there was plenty of evidence that it was mostly bogus.

At the very time Maddow was reassuring viewers that Christopher Steele was believable, populist talk radio and the much-criticized Fox News Channel were insisting that most of Steele’s allegations simply could not be true. Maddow was wrong. Her less degreed critics proved to be right.

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Impeachment Fallouts

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Impeachment is shaping up as unpredictably explosive, but not in the way imagined.

There are lots of things that we do know about the present impeachment of Donald Trump — and we know that there are even more areas that remain unknown.

Quietly, the approval ratings of Trump have been rising to pre-impeachment levels and are nearing a RealClearPolitics average of 45. Support for impeaching Trump and/or removing him is not increasing as the House Democrats expected. It is essentially static, or slowly eroding, depending on how polls phrase such questions.

Apparently, an exhausted public did not see “Ukrainian” impeachment as a one-off national crisis akin to the Nixon inquiry and the Clinton impeachment and trial that merited national attention. The impeachment vote instead is being confirmed in the public mind as part of a now boring three-year impeachment psychodrama (from impeachment 1.0, the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, and Michael Avenatti/Stormy Daniels comedies to Robert Mueller’s “dream team” and “all-stars”). The progressive logic of the current jump-the-shark monotony is to become even more monotonous, the way that a driller leans ever harder on his dull and chipping bit as his bore becomes static.

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Former intelligence chiefs fit perfectly into media advocacy culture

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

Former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have lots of things in common.

One, they ran the nation’s key intelligence and investigatory agencies under former President Barack Obama. They were deeply involved in the “Russian collusion” hoax. And they participated in the surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition.

Comey and McCabe both signed applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants requesting surveillance on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. A report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz criticized Comey and McCabe’s FBI for falsehoods and misrepresentations during its investigation of the Donald Trump campaign.

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A Russian Under Every Bed

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The three-year-long effort to abort the Trump presidency — now culminating with a manipulated impeachment effort — has warped U.S. foreign policy toward Russia.

From 2009 to 2014, the Obama administration’s official policy (“reset”) was appeasement of Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fashioned a “reset button” outreach to Russia, framed as an antidote to the allegedly unnecessarily punitive policy toward Russia initiated by George W. Bush after the 2008 Russian war with Georgia over the fate of Ossetia. In those ancient days, progressives thought Putin had been treated poorly by the warmongering Bush, and were determined to blame Bush, not Putin, for deteriorating relations.

Incoherent “Experts”

One of the strangest sights of Adam Schiff’s recent impeachment-inquiry hearings conducted under the auspices of the House Intelligence Committee was an array of witnesses who lambasted Trump’s current Ukrainian policy — especially his brief delay in sending lethal aid.

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When Hate Becomes an Agenda

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

When a party, an ideological movement, and an entire political agenda are based on hatred, people and policies become warped. The left-wing loathing of Trump has now tainted almost every Democrat’s agenda and unhinged most of the party’s major players.

Impeachment has turned into a cruel caricature of a rare constitutional remedy for presidential criminality. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report proved a compendium of FBI lying, fraud, and vendetta. There is not a single prominent figure in Horowitz’s lengthy report who has not left a written or video trail of anti-Trump bias (James Comey, Peter Strozk, the Ohrs, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith) or has had some sort of questionable financial relationship with the Clintons or their affiliates (Alexander Downer, Andrew McCabe).

Meanwhile, the progressive presidential field is in a sort of collective meltdown, as candidates begin recalibrating and trading accusations as they fear their own early anti-Trump agendas have little public support.

The prior subtext to impeachment—if not smeared or stopped, Trump will win in 2020—was spoken only by hardcore leftists like U.S. Representatives Alexander Green (D-Texas) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Now it is shamelessly voiced by leaders in the party such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), with the twist of fears that Trump will “rig the election” (after Special Counsel Robert Mueller, of course, found that he had not done so in 2016, and Horowitz found that Trump’s campaign aides were largely targeted by the FBI and CIA hierarchy) unless he is impeached.

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Victor Davis Hanson: Democrats addicted to attacking Trump – Even if impeachment drive hurts them

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth.

But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election.

Do we remember the effort to subvert the Electoral College to prevent Trump from assuming office?


The first impeachment try during his initial week in office?

Attempts to remove Trump using the ossified Logan Act or the emoluments clause of the Constitution?

The idea of declaring Trump unhinged, subject to removal by invoking the 25th Amendment?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month, $35 million investigation, which failed to find Trump guilty of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election and failed to find actionable obstruction of justice pertaining to the non-crime of collusion?

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Victor Davis Hanson: Spygate, Impeachment & the Assault on Trump For Undoing the Progressive Agenda

Victor Davis Hanson // The Epoch Times

Democrats’ Cannibalistic Ideology

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Once liberalism and progressivism give way to Jacobinism — and they often do, as we have seen in revolutionary France, China, and Russia — no leftist is safe from the downward spiral to ideological cannibalism. Yesterday’s true believer is today’s counterrevolutionary and tomorrow’s enemy of the people.

We saw something like that during both the Trump impeachment frenzy and the current trajectory of the Democratic debates and looming primaries.

The fury over Trump’s election led to a graduated and escalating series of efforts to remove him by suing three states for supposedly fraudulent voting machines. Then articles of impeachment were introduced. Suits followed citing the Constitution’s emoluments clause. The Logan Act was raised, as was the 25th Amendment. At each juncture, the zeal to remove the president accelerated in direct proportion to the failure of the previous effort. A lack of success was always explained as a result of insufficient revolutionary zeal, not an absence of evidence.

The escalation culminated in the appointment of Robert Mueller and his “dream team” of partisan anti-Trump attorneys. After their failure to find actionable obstruction and any evidence of collusion, Mueller confirmed in congressional testimony that he was largely a tired administrative-state figurehead, a shill for the anti-Trump zealotry of progressive prosecutor Andrew Weissmann.

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