By: Brent Parrish
This is going to be a direct message to the chattering class—namely, the political pundits and talking heads on the right. While I am definitely on the fence when it comes to Donald Trump, I think a number of Trump’s critics on the right are making a grave mistake by engaging in ad hominem attacks at anybody who might like what Trump is saying right now.
Now, let me be perfectly clear: I have no issue with people taking Donald Trump to task over the issues. I have many questions concerning Donald Trump’s positions (or, should I say, shifting positions?) on a number of issues confronting America right now. I’m a “yuge” proponent of healthy debate. Besides, none of us are ever going to agree with each other all of the time. As a matter of fact, if I were to gather up 12 of my most conservative friends and sit them down to discuss how to best govern a nation like ours, I have absolutely no doubt we will have many disagreements on just how we should go about it. And the reason as to why this would be the case is simple: we are all unique individuals. And we all have feet made of clay. None of us can be right all of the time. And to paraphrase an old saying: where two people agree all of the time, one of them becomes unnecessary.
With that being said, I’m getting damn sick and tired of reading and hearing some of you rightwing pundits trash anybody who likes what Donald Trump is saying. It’s not that I take issue with you over the fact that you have major issues with Trump over political issues. I take issue with some of you over the fact that you have decided to invoke invective, labeling anybody who may like what Trump is saying as being nothing but a knuckle-dragging neanderthal—a veritable idiot who is only deserving of the most scathing expurgations and vituperation. If anything, the GOP brought the current Trump conundrum on themselves by not doing a flipping thing they promised to do, despite winning both houses in 2012. And I’m not the only one with that opinion. That’s for damn sure!
This sort of circular-firing squad behavior has long been one of the most unpleasant aspects of right-wing politics, in my experience. Of course, it is not just isolated to the right-side of the political spectrum. If you’re a left-winger who happens to wonder off the liberal plantation at any given time, you can expect the same sort of treatment from your own as well. Whether you’re on the right or the left, there are those on both sides who demand we all march lock-step as one monolithic block devoid of any real independent thought or opinion.
I happen to be a big believer in principles over personalities. I see an awful lot of personality spats these days going on between incredibly thin-skinned people. Differences in opinion, misunderstandings, or simple disagreements, are made into egregious personal affronts that blow up into full-scale public meltdowns. And they just go back and forth, back and forth. Nothing really good ever comes from it in the end. Of course, the brawlers will thump their chest and say, “I really told them!” That’s why I am going to refrain from naming names. Although I certainly have a few in mind. Granted, it may be unavoidable to name a few, but it is not really my intention or desire to do so.
I’ve read a few articles, as of late, that really do a good job of articulating my thoughts concerning Trump and some of his detractors on the right better than I can, here. Recently I read an article by Breitbart’s John Nolte entitled “Jonah Golberg and Anti-Trump Bourgeoisie” that really does a good job of elucidating my own thoughts concerning the Trump phenomenon. Nolte doesn’t answer ad hominem with ad hominem. Quite the contrary. I just heard John Nolte interviewed on a local talk show and clearly stated the he has the utmost respect for Jonah Goldberg’s quick wit and impressive writing chops, as do I. But Nolte was taking Goldberg, et al., to task over their insinuation anybody who likes what Trump is saying is either a blooming idiot or wholeheartedly endorses Trump for president. This is just not the case.
A thoughtfully penned article by “Sundance” over at the Conservative Treehouse, in the form of an open letter to Jonah Goldberg and the Republican Establishment (GOPe), spells out a number of points I might have made concerning Trump and his right-wing critics. Bill Whittle and Mark Levin have some interesting and compelling takes on the rise of Trump, and the subsequent reaction and response by the NRO crowd, the GOPe and the Republican consultant class. Diana West, author of The Death of the Grown-Up and American Betrayal, has some thought-provoking points on Donald Trump that I hadn’t considered before—mainly, that Trump tends to look at the “big picture,” while the talking heads are focused on the “little picture.” Ron Fournier—hardly a conservative—wrote an article appearing at the National Journal entitled “Rise of the ‘Crazy Buts'” that explores why it is that so many Americans are sick of establishment politics, and why Donald Trump is currently leading in the GOP polls.
… From Detroit, where my family lives, to northern Michigan, where my family vacations, I heard Republicans, independents, and even Democrats begin sentences this way: “Donald Trump is crazy, but…”
“Crazy, but he’s a winner, and I’m tired of America losing.”
“Crazy, but he can’t be worse than what we got.”
“Crazy, but he’s punishing the establishment.”
“Crazy, but he’s driving the media nuts.”
“Crazy, but he says what I can’t say.”
There are a few people I’ve been following who have really been going after anybody who has anything positive to say about Donald Trump—and with both barrels blazing, I might add. One question came to my mind as I observed these particular individuals engage in their invective and vitriol, who do they support? They are more than happy to rant about who they are against; but who are they for?
I decided to snoop through the Twitter timeline of one of these well-known anti-Trumpers and, unsurprisingly, I could come up with no clear answer as to who they would support for president, and why. It was all just petty insults and look-at-me-I-showed-them taunts and retorts. Let’s just say, I was not impressed … at all. It is easy to be against something; it is not so easy to take a firm stand for something.
Now, with all that being said, there is an inverse to all of this, naturally. David Carroll posted a video on YouTube that poses what I believe to be an astute and important question: Will Donald Trump become the GOP’s Barack Obama? Meaning, will Republican voters make the same mistake that Democrat voters made in 2008 and 2012 by electing a president who will simply tell them everything they want to hear? That’s a very valid question … one we should explore thoroughly.
Without a doubt there are many legitimate beefs and criticisms concerning Donald Trump. I certainly have my own. We can have a debate on the merits of Trump and his proposed policies, or lack thereof. But we can do that without disparaging a good portion of the base. People are entitled to their opinion, for crying outside! The circular-firing squad syndrome that so often seems to rear its ugly head in Republican politics does not attract people to the cause; it drives them away in droves. And who could blame them? If the same talking heads and GOPe operatives insist on driving people away, then whose side are they on? Cui bono?