In this morning’s episode (231) of The Andrew Klavan Show, Klavan had a particularly witty opening monologue, poking fun at Dylan Roof, Chuck Shumer, Islamic media in Morocco condemning the use of makeup to cover spousal abuse, as well as Anthony Weiner (always an easy target).
But what interested me occurred at 5:10, where Klavan mentioned the strange, giddy joy that many conservatives continue to feel with Trump in office.
I have been feeling so jolly about this political situation…if you had told me a month ago that I would be feeling jolly because Donald Trump had been elected president, I would have laughed twice…one, that Donald Trump would have been elected president…but also that I would feel this good about it.
And it’s not just me, I’m watching all of these guys…Krauthammer, who said he could never vote for Trump as a matter of ethics…saying that this is going very well….Jonah Goldberg…was saying “Yeah, can I pick this apart from a conservative point of view? Yes….[but there is still good news in Trump’s progress so far.]”….
The reason I am so jolly is that, it turns out that Trump, this wild man, this man who insults people, the guy who talks about crazy stuff…he actually has a plan.
Jonah Goldberg, in fact, warned Dems of this back in 2009, but they didn’t listen then:
I’m not arguing that conservatives are poised to make some miraculous comeback. They’re not. But American politics didn’t come to an end with Obama’s election, and nothing in politics breeds corrective antibodies more quickly than overreaching arrogance. And by that measure, Obama’s first 100 days have been a huge down payment on the inevitable correction to come. 1
I myself am wondering at my continued giddiness at the progress of Trump. Having pondered my own euphoria, I can identify these reasons:
1. REVENGE: The humiliation of the Elite Liberal Establishment
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
As a Christian and pastor, I know that I should be compassionate at all times. I should never indulge in the baser pleasure of the suffering of my enemies, ideological or otherwise.
Except for the fact that that perspective is not entirely biblical. I’ll spare you an essay on how God and the Psalmists delighted in the establishment of justice and truth and vanquishing of the wicked, but regardless, there is a way to rejoice in victory.
And the first victory we have in Trump is the humiliation of the arrogant left. This is no mean accusation, it is the giant zit on the nose of liberalism that it refuses to see. It is the elephant in the room that liberals excused until it cost them the election and majorities in the House and Senate.
The arrogance of the Left should not be easily dismissed
This fault cannot be overstated – this is not a mere insult, but a diagnosis of why the left is now a huge minority in government seats across the country. To ignore it would be to perpetuate such losses in every coming election. People are fed up with the aristocratic elites and their derision of middle America. 2 3 4 5
A knee-jerk reaction to this might be to point at the obvious and real flaws of the GOP. But rather than deflect, liberals should take heed. As the New York Post recently wrote:
Donald Trump’s remarkable victory is a necessary tonic, a populist corrective to the arrogant misrule of the liberal establishment. The forgotten, left-behind and betrayed Americans did the political equivalent of using a 2-by-4 to get a mule’s attention: Sorry for the pain, but you weren’t listening. 6
Arrogance in the places of power is more dangerous, including to the party in power
Extremism and lack of ability to dialogue exist on both sides of the spectrum, but the prevalence of this in the halls of power (media, universities, and the Obama administration and Congress) where liberals currently hold vast majorities makes liberal arrogance that much more dangerous to everyone. But this is also dangerous to the party in power because a popular rebellion against arrogance and abuse of power is inevitable, and is admittedly what led to this election result. 7
As conservative Tom Rogan wrote in 2015:
Nevertheless, two deep consequences flow from this arrogance. First, fostering a liberal undercurrent of partisan purity, the arrogance fills a growing pool of sticky anti-intellectualism. Second, it deters conservatives from efforts to find common cause. Ultimately, whatever liberals believe, they would do well to remember that truly effective debate requires one’s openness to the idea that he might be wrong. Absent that philosophy, the marketplace for ideas cannot open fully, and America suffers for it. 8
That rejection of liberalism is also very strong among minorities who reject it, such as black conservative Rod Eccles of the Washington Star News:
Because of your arrogance, and your idiocy, I cannot and will not, so long as I shall live, vote or promote a single Liberal to any office anywhere on this planet. You should not either unless you believe that you are inferior and not worthy of having someone think that you are smart enough to run your own life. 9
Self-diagnosis at CBS
At least in the media, they are now confessing this sin. But too late for the Democratic electorate – and I don’t think Dems in the House get it yet, seeing as they just re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their representative – you know, the same one who egregiously said of the ACA “we need to pass it to see what’s in it.” The stink of that statement reeks worse now than then.
CBS News commentator Will Rahn recently decided he had too many friends, and published a commentary there entitled The unbearable smugness of the press.
They hate us, and have for some time. And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid. It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. 10 11
Rahn was recently interviewed in the thoughtful and excellent daily podcast from The Federalist, and repeated this theme:
We kept on coming up with these results…they were talking about the election being a done deal, but something wasn’t right in the phrasing of it…then we were playing around with the map and we got to 269 to 269 (electoral votes)…and I played around with writing an article entitled “Donald Trump Could Win” and I thought “NAH, he’s not going to win!”….Then Nate Silver wrote his article, and the Huffington Post wrote this takedown of him saying essentially “How can you scare the liberals like this?” 12 13 14
2. RELIEF: Trump is actually governing largely sensibly
Contrary to Liberal demonization, most conservatives supported Trump somewhat unwillingly, and with grave reservations which were only exceeded by our concerns about Hillary. And we are relieved that since his election, despite Twitter outbursts, he has made some very sane choices, including:
- Conciliatory Tone: Giving a conciliatory acceptance speech, as well as being conciliatory towards Hillary, reversing his aim to prosecute her (many conservatives see this as a betrayal, but most of us just want to pick better fights and otherwise reduce the contentious public wrangling). 15
- First 100 Days: Publishing a reasonable list of his tasks in the first 100 days (not perfect, but not extreme either) 16
- Cabinet Positions: Choosing meaningful conservatives for cabinet positions quicker than nearly every other president in history. 17
This sense of relief is in contrast to the “sky is falling” panic of the left, and our own reasoned panic regarding Trump’s unstable and immature carriage. Our relief is well captured by David Harsanyi at The Federalist entitled Why I’m Not Freaking Out About Donald Trump — Yet:
For starters, allowing liberals to determine my level of anxiety – which would be full–blown, round-the-clock histrionics – over what’s nothing more than another election would be foolish….
Moreover, Trump hasn’t really done anything out of the ordinary – not yet.
What’s really upset Democrats, it seems to me, is that traditional conservative policy proposals, the sorts of things hat Republicans have campaigned on for years — the policies that have helped them win more than 1,000 local seats and governorships and two wave elections — will probably be moving forward. The overwrought rhetoric used to describe overturning Obamacare or reforming entitlements – “gutting” and “privatizing,” etc. — would be precisely the same if we had President-elect John Kasich. 18
It looks like Trump will be carrying out sensible conservative approaches which are not extreme or unbalanced, but well thought out over the decades since the Republican revolution of 1994 when Newt Gingrich led congress with the Contract for America.
3. RENEWAL: Conservative economics and governance may get a chance to be tried (again)
There is considerable argument about whether trickle down economics or Keynsian economics work, or if poorly constructed social programs create dependence and crime, and people love to throw out stats from all sides.
Regardless of who is right, conservatives see not only a president surrounded by many of the conservative thinkers (Paul Ryan and New Gingrich not the least), but a conservative majority in congress that can finally enact a comprehensive conservative vision; elaminating the killing of children through abortion, and eNing the floating of our economy on an ocean of debt which is about to trump (pun intended) the GDP. 19
Trump is not conservative but…
Many of us on the right, especially liberatarians, have been calling for a more centrist conservatism, not the extremism that pervades both parties, where every position has become essential or you are branded the enemy.
Trump has ‘pardoned’ Hillary. He’s come out for gay marriage (I’m not a fan of gay marriage, but it’s not the biggest fight we have – abortion and big government are). Yes, he’s still too hard on immigration, but he’s being tempered. Many of us hope for a more reasoned and less extreme GOP. And for us, renewal means going back to a more truly Reaganesque party.
I really am surprised that my anxiety over the bull we sent to the China shop (Trump) is far exceeded by a continued giddiness. It is fueled in no small part by my satisfaction at the continued suffering of liberals who are detoxing from their arrogance in the glow of defeat. I can imagine what black Americans will feel like when a cop who killed an innocent black gets the death penalty – finally, a flood of pent up frustration at injustice and stupidity can begin to be released.
I feel a great sense of relief that those who are STILL calling me a racist have to live with the results of their lack of concern for those who opposed them. I sincerely hope our GOP representatives don’t make the same mistake. But for now, my anxiety is superseded by my giddy feelings of revenge, relief, and hope for renewal.
- Obama’s Liberal Arrogance Will Be His Undoing (realclearpolitics.com) ↩
- Arrogant liberals are doing a big disservice to liberalism (indiatimes.com) ↩
- 5 Reasons Liberals Are Such Unpleasant People To Be Around (townhall.com) ↩
- The smug style in American liberalism (vox.com) ↩
- Charles Krauthammer Rips Gruber: ‘The True Voice of Liberal Arrogance’ on ObamaCare ‘Lies’ (ijr.com) ↩
- Trump win a necessary tonic against the arrogant liberal establishment (NYP) ↩
- Trump’s road to the White House was paved by liberal arrogance (trtworld.com) ↩
- The Arrogance Crisis in American Liberalism (opportunitylives.com) ↩
- How Dare Liberals Be So Arrogant (washingtonstarnews.com) ↩
- The unbearable smugness of the press (cbsnews.com) ↩
- Is Liberalism Really “Smug”? (slate.com) – Slate is still being defensive, and missing the point. ↩
- Federalist Radio: The Smugness Of The Press And Decaying American Communities (thefederalist.com) ↩
- Election Update: Yes, Donald Trump Has A Path To Victory: If the race tightens any further, Clinton’s electoral edge is fragile. (fiverthirtyeight.com) 20 ↩
- Nate Silver Is Unskewing Polls — All Of Them — In Trump’s Direction (Huffingtonpost.com) ↩
- Transcript: Donald Trump’s Victory Speech (nyt) ↩
- Here Is What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days (npr.org) ↩
- Donald Trump Is Choosing His Cabinet. Here’s the Latest List. (nyt) ↩
- Why I’m Not Freaking Out About Donald Trump — Yet (thefederalist.com) ↩
- CBO: Debt Headed to 103% of GDP; Level Seen Only in WWII; ‘No Way to Predict Whether or When’ Fiscal Crisis Might Occur Here (cbnnews.com) ↩