David Horowitz, More than the virus threatens us.
In this spring season, America’s future is fraught with uncertainties as a result of the pandemic unleased by Communist China’s malicious concealment of a virus it had apparently developed in a Wuhan laboratory. Will the nation be able to “re-open” as the president desires, or will it descend into a long-lasting depression with millions unemployed? At the same time, a much greater uncertainty haunts the horizon. This uncertainty is a product of the ferocious hate for the president and his supporters ginned up by the political Left ever since the 2016 election. The anti-Trump fervor is so intense it has divided the nation into two alien camps until there is hardly any longer a national conversation, or a united front in the face of the deadly contagion.
For anyone not in thrall to anti-Trump obsessions, the spectacle of Trump hatred is mystifying, even unfathomable. It’s not that the criticisms of Trump are harsh – that is the currency of democratic politics. The problem is that they are not merely harsh but veer on the lunatic until communication with those who voice them seems impossible. It is why the national conversation and a semblance of national unity in the face of threats seem almost hopeless.
A recent New York Times interview with the comedian and Bernie Sanders impersonator Larry David crystalizes the problem. “You know, it’s an amazing thing,” David told the Times, “[Trump] has not one redeeming quality. You could take some of the worst dictators in history, and I’m sure that all of them, you could find one decent quality. Stalin could have had one decent quality, we don’t know!”
Where to begin? Stalin was a totalitarian dictator who killed 40 million of his own countrymen – in peacetime. How does such a preposterous comparison even occur to a man as intelligent as Larry David, who as a comedian is also a student of character, and would normally be more judicious. How could he be so far off the mark?
Forgive me if I pause here to name a few of Trump’s obvious, incontrovertibly redeeming qualities – qualities that should be easily recognizable regardless of what one’s politics might be. Trump went out of his way to give a presidential pardon to free Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old African American grandmother sentenced to life without parole for a non-violent drug charge. Johnson had served 21 years of her sentence when Trump freed her. Barack Obama by contrast turned a deaf ear to her appeals and left her to rot in jail.
Trump also shepherded the passage of the First Step Act, something no other Republican would have done, giving thousands of mainly African American prisoners a second chance. Here’s the way far-Left CNN commentator Van Jones described what Trump had done:
There is a Christmas miracle underway. For the first time in a generation, Republicans and Democrats are arm-in-arm tonight saying we are sending too many people to prison…. [S]omething beautiful is happening and it is not that you have to see it to believe it, you have to believe it to see it. It is happening right now, people coming together to help the people who have nothing. And it is amazing.
Trump also went out of his way to pardon former heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, who had been sentenced to jail for an imaginary crime that only blacks could be convicted of in the age of segregation. Barack Obama passed on this opportunity too.
Or this: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton made multi-million dollar fortunes by exploiting the public office they were elected to serve. Trump is the only president in the history of the country who has donated his entire presidential salary – $1.3 million to date – to the American people. This January, he donated his $100,000 check to fight the coronavirus.
How does one engage a mentality that claims Trump has no redeeming qualities but that historical monsters like Stalin probably do? The New York Times interviewer didn’t even notice, let alone challenge this absurdity.
What is most troubling for an observer concerned about the future of American democracy is that the otherwise intelligent people in the culture, including those who inhabit its elite opinion institutions, think – or rather don’t think – about Trump and his supporters in the same ludicrous way as Larry David. To be specific: think about Trump in terms so ludicrous that one is hard put to figure out how to engage them in a rational discourse.
The New Yorker was once a magazine embodying the highest values of the intellectual life. It still maintains a high standard with regard to literature and the arts, but its commentary on American politics has descended into ideological leftism so extreme that its standards are all but non-existent. A recent piece by Eric Lach is titled “Bernie Sanders and the Promised Land,” as though the catastrophes of the utopian schemes to whom Bernie has devoted his irate life never took place. This is doubly mystifying since the editor of The New Yorker is the author of a memorable book, Lenin’s Tomb, on the fall of communism.
For half a decade and counting,” writes Lach,
American politics has been dominated by the ideas, personalities, and followings of two geriatric outer-borough New Yorkers. One is the brash, narcissistic son of a Queens real-estate tycoon, who inherited a fortune and spent the nineteen-eighties and nineties compulsively stamping his name on as many products—buildings, casinos, steaks—as he could….
This description leads Lach to describe Trump as a “master huckster.” But is Trump more narcissistic than Bernie, whose entire political program is an effort to spend trillions of other people’s money, while he acquires personal millions by raiding his campaign war chest? Trump did turn his name into a brand, but how different is that from “Feel the Bern?” The difference is that Trump used his brand to turn the millions he inherited into billions, while the Bern used it to amass millions to attack billionaires, regardless of their actual merits or achievements.
For Lach, Trump’s business success is merely the work of a
master huckster, who rose to power after realizing that he could fuse the racist, reactionary politics of twentieth-century New York City tabloids with the racist, reactionary politics of the twenty-first-century Republican Party.
Actually, Trump’s presidential campaign and his presidential policies are clearly outlined in statements he made twenty and thirty years before, which are readily available on video, and have nothing to do with reactionary, racist politics. In these video-ed interviews Trump expresses his familiar concerns over the shabby treatment of ordinary Americans by both parties through bad trade deals and regulatory policies, and of America’s military and its veterans. He also made clear in his first campaign book published twenty years ago that he was a proponent of school choice, demanding better treatment for African American children in America’s inner cities.
The charge that Trump is a racist is a particularly widespread, stupid, and baseless slander. Trump is by no stretch of the imagination a racist or a reactionary. Nor is the Republican Party. On the other hand, the Democrat Party, wedded to Identity Politics – a rather pure form of 21st Century racism with its casual attacks on white Americans in general and “old white males” in particular – clearly is.
Any halfway objective observer can see that Bernie and his leftist followers are the true reactionaries of American politics, guided by the crackpot, discredited 19th Century theories of Karl Marx and his disciples. The Democrat Party has become the party of redistributionist fantasies, the very policies that Madison called “wicked” in Federalist #10 and that the Constitution was designed to thwart.
As for Bernie, here’s how Lach describes this angry hypocrite, hater of billionaires and other successful Americans, ally of Jew-hating terrorists and promoter of schemes that would bankrupt the country:
the self-assured son of two working-class Jews in Brooklyn, who left New York to become a child of the nineteen-sixties, eventually landing in rural Vermont, where he became a staunchly leftist mayor, congressman, and senator, and then a long-shot presidential candidate who turned millions of young people on to the kind of progressivism that the rest of his generation had discarded along with sit-ins, vinyl records, and tie-dyed shirts.
But this vapid attempt to sanitize Bernie’s career is not the worst of Lach’s hagiographical extravagances. What would the Passover season be without invoking Moses himself to aggrandize a self-hating Jew?
Recently, after Biden had amassed an overwhelming lead in the delegate count over Sanders, I spoke with Max Berger, an activist who served as the director for progressive partnerships in the Warren campaign. ‘Bernie is Moses,’ Berger told me, describing how the left would remember Sanders. He spent forty years wandering in the political wilderness, and brought the left to the edge of the promised land. Sanders has his enemies, and his detractors. But, in terms of how his supporters will remember him, this sounded right to me.
Co-equal as an institution reflecting New York’s high culture is the New York Review of Books, which has also become a smear rag regarding all things Republican and Trump. In an article titled “Vector in Chief,” Finian O’Toole describes Trump thus:
Trump’s narcissism, mendacity, bullying, and malignant incompetence were obvious before the coronavirus crisis and they have been magnified rather than moderated in his surreal response to a catastrophe whose full gravity he failed to accept until March 31, when it had become horribly undeniable.
Of course, Trump banned travel from China and declared the virus “a national health emergency” on January 31, two months earlier – actions which caused Democrats like Biden and Pelosi and their lackey press to call him a xenophobe and a racist. O’Toole follows the deceptions of Google which has 3 pages of references to Trump’s March 31 speech before listing the earlier declaration on January 31.
Following a general leftist campaign to twist Trump’s words and portray them in the worst light O’Toole is confusing Trump’s pandemic policy with his attempts to reassure Americans that his government was on the case and the situation was “under control.”
O’Toole then concocts a bizarre argument that Trump’s alleged (and wholly invented) decision to take the epidemic seriously is merely a self-interested necessity because his supporters are in the category of being most vulnerable to the disease. “For we must bear in mind that Trump’s ‘real people,’ the ones who make up his electoral base, are disproportionately prone to the chronic illnesses (the ‘underlying conditions’) that make Covid-19 more likely to prove fatal.” So even Trump’s good deeds are bad deeds, dictated by his voracious self-interest.
It gets worse. According to
a 2018 Massachusetts General Hospital study of more than three thousand counties in the US …poor public health was significantly associated with the additional Republican presidential votes cast in 2016 over those from 2012. A substantial association was seen between poor health and a switch in political parties in the last [presidential] election.
So people who are sick vote for Trump, and Trump for selfish reasons has to protect them.
And of course since it’s that time of year, let’s throw in some religion:
For every marker of the prevalence of poor health (such as diabetes, obesity, days of illness, and mortality rates), there was a marked shift toward voting for Trump. Trump has acted in relation to Covid-19 like the God who tells the Jews to mark their homes with a sign so that the plagues he is inflicting on Egypt will pass by their doors—with the malign twist that he has instead marked out his own chosen people for special harm.
Get the malicious point? What an evil president we have. Writers of this kind of garbage should have their computers taken away.
Here’s an alternative take. First of all, the assumption is wholly suspect. Obesity is a major problem among African Americans. Eighty percent of African American women and seventy percent of African American men are obese. The other markers are certainly prevalent among African American communities, but only 8% of them voted for Trump in 2016. On the other hand, 52% of voters over the age of 45 voted for Trump. Let’s stipulate that these people have active memories of the disasters of socialism, went to schools that still taught American principles and the American Constitution rather than Saul Alinsky’s rules for radicals, and also have a healthy concern that America needs a strong military rather than the degraded one Obama left as his legacy. Which is why they voted for Trump.
As for Trump, he has reached out to constituencies like Hispanics and African Americans who did not flock to support him in 2016, and he has made it clear over and over that he is a president for all Americans. In assembling his medical team to fight the virus, Trump has flanked himself with two Democrats – Drs. Fauci and Birx – and an African American surgeon general. But that’s probably why he is so hated by the Left: he has taken America back to its roots and thwarted their desires to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” into a socialist state – in the words and aspirations of Barack Obama.