As many of you know, I have been a #NeverTrumper from the get-go for a whole host of reasons from his ever-changing positions to his character (or lack thereof) to his treatment of women, and on and on I could go. I never expected him to win the Election, and completely missed that while Democrats were the ones to get him the nomination, they did not come out and vote for Clinton (Trump’s vote tally was less than Romney’s and closer to McCain’s). That I did not see coming, I admit, or the extent of the anger toward Obama and a possible third Obama term with Clinton.
So yeah, I have to eat some crow on that whole Election thing. I was wr, um, w-r-o, uh, WRONG, on that. I take some comfort in knowing I am in excellent company on that, though, from our own KenoshaMarge to the erudite Jonah Goldberg. And unlike Goldberg, I have not had anyone sanctimoniously or pompously or condescendingly tell me they “forgive” me for not supporting Trump. Seriously – people have said that to Goldberg as he noted in a recent post:
“I FORGIVE YOU.”
I’ve lost count of how many people have told me that since Election Day. Of course, the number pales in comparison with the legions who’ve told me I was “wrong about everything” this year and that the election of Donald Trump will spell the end of my relevance, my career and, in a few trollish instances, my life. But it’s the unsolicited forgiveness that stings more.
My position as a committed “Never Trump” (and “Never Hillary”) conservative in the primaries and general election earned the disappointment and wrath of a great many folks on the right, from longtime readers to longtime friends. Although I still feel in my bones that I have nothing to apologize for, it does seem to me that forgiveness, solicited or otherwise, should elicit some introspection.
Are my critics — either the forgiving ones or the menacing ones — right about me? Just how wrong was I?
I did get the election wrong. Although there were occasions when I wrote that Trump had a shot, certainly at the end I was convinced that he’d lose.
Yep – right there with you, Jonah. I got it wrong, too, which is still shocking. Not that I was wrong – okay, a LITTLE that I was wrong – but that this nation elected a reality tv star who does have a lot of businesses, but also a lot of FAILED businesses, tons of lawsuits against him, and had to settle on his Trump U fraud lawsuit . THAT is what shocks me. I imagine it shocks Goldberg, too, as he continues in his good piece:
And yet, defensive though it may sound, I think the claim that I got “everything wrong” in 2016 reveals more about my detractors than about me. No doubt I got much wrong this year (this is true of every year ending in a number divisible by 1), but the only sense in which one could plausibly claim I got everything wrong is if Donald Trump is your everything. Indeed, the bulk of those shouting that I got “everything wrong” seem to be the “Trump can do no wrong” crowd as well.
There is a weird, not quite fully baked idea out there that if you — or me — were wrong about Trump’s electoral chances, that means you must be wrong about the man in full. There is no such transitive property in politics or punditry. I don’t know what George Will said of Richard Nixon’s electoral prospects in 1972, but even if he had predicted a McGovern landslide, that wouldn’t mean he was wrong about the outrageousness of Watergate.
That said, I already feel comfortable admitting that, beyond my electoral prognosticating, I got some things wrong about what a Trump presidency will look like. Though many on the left and in the media see his Cabinet appointments and policy proposals as cause for existential panic, as a conservative I find most — but by no means all — of them reassuring.
I too admit that Trump has had some decent picks for positions, but others have completely left me scratching my head, like his pick for Sec. of State, Rex Tillerson. Who?? There is no doubt Trump played a whole bunch of his sycophants, and Romney (who most definitely was NOT a sycophant) in the whole Sec. of State competition. I am sure he whispered in many of their ears for months that if only they supported him, they would receive a plum position like Sec. of State. That is one thing I mot definitely DID get right – Trump played a whole bunch of these fools like violins. Just ask Gov. Chris Christie and Speaker Newt Gingrich. Uh, yeah.
And don’t even get me started on the despicable Bannon. UGH. Or weasley Reince Priebus who clearly got HIS payback for going all in for Trump. Yep. He’s set for a while, isn’t he? Blech.
One thing that continues to confound me, though, is how this country has so lowered its standards for President. That shocks me. We are talking about the leader of the Free World, and now we have someone like Trump, the Tweeter-in-Chief who makes disparaging comments about people in 140 characters or less with reckless abandon, a point Goldberg also makes:
What I have chiefly in mind is that rich nexus of unrestrained ego, impoverished impulse control and contempt for policy due diligence. I firmly and passionately believe that character is destiny. From his reported refusal to accept daily intelligence briefings to his freelancing every issue under the sun on Twitter — including, most recently, nuclear arms policy — Trump’s blase attitude troubles me deeply, just as it did during the campaign.
On balance, I don’t feel repentant. But I acknowledge that Trump has surrounded himself with some serious and sober-minded people who will try to constrain and contain the truly dangerous aspects of his character. If they succeed, I’ll happily revisit my refusal to ask for forgiveness. (Click here to read the rest.)
I don’t feel repentant either. And while I am glad Trump has some decent people, it is still WAY too early to tell what he is actually going to do once he gets into the White House. That is one of the other BIG things about him: he is highly unpredictable and highly vindictive, so heaven only knows what will end up happening.
Time will tell, though for now, I am #StillNeverTrumperButWillingToEatSomeCrow.
At least that’s what I think. How about you? This is an Open Thread.