Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Uncommon Knowledge Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case for Trump”

How did blue-collar voters connect with a millionaire from Queens in the 2016 election? Martin and Illie Anderson Senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson addresses that question and more in his newly released book, The Case for Trump. He sits down with Peter Robinson to chat about his motivation to write a book making a rational case for those voters who chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Hanson and Robinson, the Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow, discuss how voters connected with Trump’s “personal authenticity” during the campaign and how the media has a “historical amnesia” of the bad behavior of past presidents when talking about President Trump. The president, Hanson argues, was always an outsider from elite society in Manhattan, which helped him to better to connect with voters who felt like outsiders. He analyzes President Trump’s platform agenda, which was composed 80% of traditionally conservative views with the remaining 20% being radical ideas that fit with many of the views of the midwestern states. He breaks down why, in the end, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich didn’t appeal to voters in the way that Trump managed to.

Hanson turns to talk about his background and life growing up in California’s Central Valley and how different the area feels now compared to when he was younger. He talks about seeing the majority of the family-run farms being steadily replaced with large commercial operations and how that’s drastically impacted the workforce and economics of the region. He goes on to discuss issues of water protection and water quality in the Central Valley and how Bay Area elites prioritize their water quality over that of the rural farmers.

Watch the interview here.

How Socialist Is Bernie Sanders?

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory published by Hoover Institution

The candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination raises the real prospect of an avowed socialist as President of the United States. Notably, Sanders reveals little about what socialism means to him, other than giving many things away free. He disarms critics by asserting that he is not a “socialist” but a “Democratic Socialist,” without defining what that means.

Sanders, however, is not the only self-declared “Democratic Socialist” around. The largest American socialist party, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), unlike Sanders, openly declares its intent to abolish capitalism as we know it. A staff writer for a DSA house publication could not be clearer: “In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism…we want to end our society’s subservience to the market.”

Does Sanders agree? That is the question.

Socialism burst on the American political scene with Sanders’ strong bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Not a one-time fluke, Sanders currently ranks at the top of the crowded 2020 Democratic field. The 2018 elections of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Rashida Tlaib to the House added momentum to the socialist chic sweeping the country.  In the past few years, candidates identifying themselves as socialist have won more than 50 state and municipal offices, the latest being the election of five candidates to the Chicago city council.

Sanders has spent a long political career obfuscating his true political beliefs. The media rarely pushes back on his standard platitudes, such as “we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.” His two-minute video, promising to explain his brand of socialism, leaves the viewer clueless, probably deliberately. Sanders insists that he is not a “socialist” but a “Democratic Socialist,” as if the difference is self-explanatory. When pressed further about his Democratic Socialism, he resorts to filibustering about the Scandinavian-like paradise of free medicine and education, guaranteed jobs, livable wages, and other free things he intends to introduce when elected. He does not bother to note that the Nordic states rank among the most free-enterprise economies of the globe.

Read the full article here.

The Fright of James Comey

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In a recent op-ed, fired FBI Director James Comey was back again preaching to the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump and his capacity to corrupt any top-ranking federal official of lower character than Comey’s own.

Comey seems to have become utterly unhinged by Donald Trump, especially when the president, in his thick Queens accent, scoffs in the vernacular—quite accurately, given the transgressions of the FBI hierarchy—about “crooked cops.” What an affront to Comey’s complexity, his subtlety, his sophistication, his feigned Hamlet-like self-doubt—at least as now expressed in his latest incarnation as Twitter’s Kahlil Gibran.

One can say a number of things about the timing of Comey’s latest sermon and his characteristic projection of his own sins on to others.

First, Comey’s unprofessionalism was home-grown and certainly did not need any help from President Trump. His schizophrenic behavior both as a prosecutor and investigator in the Hillary Clinton email matter was marked by exempting Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin from indictment, despite their lying to his own federal officials about their knowledge of a private Clinton email server. Comey wrote his summation of the Clinton email investigation before he had even interviewed the former secretary of state. He was hardly independent from a recused Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Clinton email investigation. As her rubbery courier he bent to her directives on all key decisions that led to de facto exoneration of likely next president Hillary Clinton.

Read the full article here.

Putin’s provocations are met with ridicule in Ukraine

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

Dictators fear being ridiculed with humor. Jokes about Stalin were punished by prison or death. In China, a TV anchor was threatened for jokes mocking Mao Zedong. In Venezuela, the Maduro government counts anti-Chavismo satire as punishable by censorship, cancellation or even jail.

In Russia, Putin has signed a law that imposes fines and jail for online material that disrespects the state, the constitution and bodies exercising state power.  

A popular Russian joke goes: “If you criticize the authorities, you’ll be prosecuted under the law against insulting officials. If you praise the authorities, you’ll be prosecuted under the law against fake news.”

The new president of Ukraine, comedian and TV star Volodymyr Zelensky, as a graduate of improvisational comedy, understands the power of lampooning political opponents. This skill earned him an unlikely landslide victory in the crowded Ukrainian presidential race.

Read the full article here.

Clinton Projection Syndrome

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Hillary Clinton recently editorialized about the second volume of special counsel Robert Mueller’s massive report. She concluded of the report’s assorted testimonies and inside White House gossip concerning President Trump’s words and actions that “any other person engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted.”

Psychologists might call her claims “projection.” That is the well-known psychological malady of attributing bad behavior to others as a means of exonerating one’s own similar, if not often even worse, sins.

After 22 months of investigation and $34 million spent, the Mueller report concluded that there was no Trump-Russia collusion—the main focus of the investigation—even though that unfounded allegation dominated print and televised media’s speculative headlines for the last two years.

While Mueller’s report addressed various allegations of Trump’s other roguery, the special counsel did not recommend that the president be indicted for obstruction of justice in what Mueller had just concluded was not a crime of collusion.

Read the full article here.

Why Go West?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The harshest critics of the West in general and the United States in particular are the best arguments for it. Take the latest iconic critic, 29-year-old Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. She has a predictable list of complaints against America, past and present.

Yet fortunately for her, her paternal grandparents and mother had experienced firsthand the antitheses of mainland America. And thus they were obsessed with what was right, not wrong, with the continental United States — and with getting there as quickly as possible. If they had once been critics of America, such animus was seemingly not great enough to prevent them moving to a place with a different language, ethnic majority, and traditions from those of their home, itself a territory of the U.S.

They apparently assumed that a free-market economy and transparent government gave them economic opportunities unknown in Puerto Rico, an otherwise naturally rich landscape. They wisely stayed in North America, apparently because they felt as supposed minorities that they would have far more cultural, social, political, and economic opportunities than they would as part of the majority in Puerto Rico. The fact that her father was a second-generation immigrant and architect, that AOC herself grew up in affluent Westchester County, that she received scholarships to attend pricey Boston University, and that she was elected to Congress bore out her parents’ correct assumptions of a meritocracy, not a caste state.

Mutatis mutandis, the same could be said of two other chronic ankle-biters of America, newly elected Representatives Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Their families correctly (but internally rather than publicly) had apparently once assumed that Muslims and the so-called nonwhite would enjoy a higher standard of living, more religious protection, and greater political freedom as minority citizens of the U.S. than as part of the majority in either Somalia or the Palestinian territories . Omar and Tlaib both know that if they were to redirect commensurate animus to the government and society of Somalia or the Palestinian territories, their freedoms, if not their very lives, would be in danger.

Read the full article here.

The Adolescent Progressive Mind

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

One of the strangest things about the series of psychodramas that surround the ongoing effort to remove President Trump before the 2020 election is progressive schizophrenia. In teenage fashion, one moment a player in the Trump removal intrigue is deemed by the media-progressive nexus a demigod. The next moment, he’s a devil. It depends solely on his perceived sense of utility.

Robert Mueller, Saint to Sinner
When Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017 as special counsel to investigate alleged Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, he was practically canonized as a secular saint. The media was giddy over his “all stars” and “dream team” of almost all liberal lawyers who shortly would prove the supposedly obvious: sure winner Hillary Clinton lost only because the vile Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin to sabotage her campaign by leaking John Podesta’s emails.

As the Mueller investigation lumbered along over the last 22 months, the media periodically announced that their newfound hero had inside information, privileged but unnamed sources, and high-ranking anonymous officials who confirmed “the noose was tightening,” the “walls were closing in,” and “a bombshell” was about to go off. It was as if pre-teenagers had group-talked themselves into seeing witches and goblins.

Mueller was just about to ensure Trump’s impeachment, indictment, or voluntary exile. More direct leaks apprised us that Mueller supposedly was sealing Trump’s fate by flipping the alleged sell-out Michael Flynn. Or was it the dastardly Carter Page? Or perhaps the supposed wannabe George Papadopoulos was Trump’s true nemesis. Or again, maybe the deified Mueller had so leveraged Stormy Daniels, or Michael Cohen, or Roger Stone, or Jerome Corsi that Trump would all but confess and slink off into infamous oblivion.

Read the full article here.

Mueller Investigation Was Driven by Pious Hypocrisy

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year, $30 million, 448-page report did not find collusion between Donald Trump and Russia.

Despite compiling private allegations of loud and obnoxious Trump behavior, Mueller also concluded that there was not any actionable case of obstruction of justice by the president. It would have been hard in any case to find that Trump obstructed Mueller’s investigation of an alleged crime.

One, there was never a crime of collusion. Mueller early on in his endeavors must have realized that truth, but he pressed ahead anyway. It is almost impossible to prove obstruction of nothing.

Two, Trump cooperated with the investigation. He waived executive privilege. He turned over more than 1 million pages of administrative documents. He allowed then-White House counsel Don McGahn to submit to over 30 hours of questioning by Mueller’s lawyers.

Three, anyone targeted by a massive investigation who knows he is innocent of an alleged crime is bound to become frustrated over a seemingly never-ending inquisition.

Read the full article here.

The Cathedral: Mirror of the West, Then and Now

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The recent fires at the medieval Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris almost immediately were seen as a referendum on the West, even by those who are not Christians.

How at the supposed apex of Western technology, science, and affluence could a sudden inferno devour the spire, roof, and some of the interior icons of the nearly 800-year-old cathedral, itself perched on the bank of a river, and the survivor of centuries of desecrations, remodels, expansions, and repairs, when the arts of preservation, fire prevention and response, and engineering were supposedly backward by our standards?

Logically or not, many saw the fire as a curtain call for the West, or at least an eclipse of the ancient marriage of European Christian belief and scientific brilliance that together produced the most impressive and beautiful expressions of Western transcendence.

And now the second-most-revered church in the West smolders — something that neither French revolutionaries nor World War II bombers could accomplish.

In our smug era of high tech and conspicuous consumption, Western Europeans and Americans do not build Christian cathedrals anymore. Our challenge is simply to keep standing — at least sort of — what we inherited.

Read the full article here.

Russian ‘Collusion’s’ Greatest Hits

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

From late 2015 until April 2019, the media, the Left, and the Obama administrative state hierarchy warned us nonstop that candidate, president-elect, and inaugurated President Trump “colluded” with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton, to assemble a suspect cabinet, and to rule in treasonous fashion in the interests of Vladimir Putin. The former head of the CIA and the director of national intelligence were birthed as permanent analysts at MSNBC and CNN to sermonize—with wink-and-nod assurances that their past billets and security clearances substantiated their authority—that the treasonous Trump would likely be impeached, indicted, or quit.

A mostly progressive team of lawyers, with an unlimited budget, no restrictions on time, and with enormous legal powers found all of that to be a lie.

Unable to find Trump likely guilty of either collusion or obstruction of investigating the non-crime of collusion, they instead salted their report with innuendo and rumor of what the enraged Trump was supposedly thinking about, raging about, and talking about among his closest confidants, including the insurrectionary statement of his press secretary who allegedly sinned by exaggerating the extent of FBI rank and file unhappiness over the firing of James Comey.

All that was a long, slow distraction over real culpability on the part of a number of our supposed best and brightest. And here are some of their most absurd moments from the Orwellian hunt for collusion.

Read the full article here.

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