National Review…the Trump Recruiting Office

Unable to stop the phenomenon that has become the Trump movement by attacking its leader, the pretentious princes of the Grand Old Party are now resorting to attacking their own rebellious base, and it is clear that some conservative journalists are too willing to help them do it. The most disturbing of these attacks comes from what has become Trump’s most determined journalistic antagonist, National Review. That NR has now turned its guns on Middle America saddens me, for I have long been a reader and admirer of their many fine writers. I was truly dismayed recently when that conservative publication devoted an entire issue to destroying Trump with almost two dozen leading establishment editors and journalists writing opinion pieces against him. That effort to terminate Trump failed so miserably it is almost laughingly ironic, for not only did it get NR dropped from the next Republican debate, it further established Donald as the anti-establishment leader and broadened his attraction.

Perturbed by their failure to truncate the Trump campaign, National Review is now doubling down in a coming issue with a truly toxic article (behind a pay wall) by roving editor, Kevin D. Williamson. Toxic is the nicest way I can think of to characterize the malevolent tirade that Williamson has produced for a publication apparently hell-bent on reducing its readership to a tiny core of conservative purists. Williamson, who frequently likes to drop into his pieces the downhome bona fide that he’s from West Texas, has probably doomed his chances of ever leading any parades back home with his virulent attack on the blue-collar class, the workers who populate the two largest industries in that region, farming/ranching and the oilfield, in particular, the latter because of the recent collapse of oil prices.

Williamson apparently thinks blue-collar workers whose lives get turned upside down when their jobs disappear due to economic downturns or their manufacturing jobs getting shipped offshore or their mines closing due to new more restrictive government regulation, are all a bunch of worthless bums and crybabies who should just load up the pickup and become the new Okies. What with the absolute collapse of the energy industry in West Texas in the past year and unemployment through the roof, I think Kevin might find it somewhat difficult selling that concept to any of his fellow West Texans any time soon. I’d give up Mexican food for a year to see him stand on one of the dozens of idle drilling platforms and try to read that piece to a crowd of long-unemployed oilfield workers. Here are a few of Kevin’s insulting words (excerpted –and defended-- here):

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap, theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

Did you folks out there in Odessa and all the other oil patch communities get that? This conservative elitist says your town deserves to die. And that’s just a sample of the toxic rot in the lengthy article.  Jazz Shaw at Hot Air is shocked, like many other conservative authors who have read Williamson’s diatribe:

This is truly stunning. A broadside attack on America’s middle class is apparently the last recourse of truly lost and desperate souls. Worst of all, it’s a denial of reality. I don’t know how things are in hardscrabble, white West Texas, but I happen to live in one of those hardscrabble, white Upstate New York burgs and Kevin is living in some sort of dream world. Garbutt serves as a useful metaphor in his tale, but it bears little to no relevance to the reality these communities have dealt with nor the government policy failures which let them down. 

Well I do know how things are in hardscrabble, white West Texas, and they’re not good at all. Like me, Shaw has lived in stricken areas among the people that Williamson and National Review think just need to load up a U-Haul and move on to better prospects. I wonder if Kevin intends those emigrants to include members of my wife’s pioneering family of cowboys, ranchers, buffalo hunters and Indian fighters who have been on West Texas land for more than 150 years? Or members of my own family who have been working in that oil patch for sixty years? Most of them are suffering in varying degrees from the regional depression caused by the steep drop in oil prices. Those crybabies should simply abandon their homes, their schools, their churches, their old and debilitated, just pick up and go, huh, Kevin?

It is becoming increasingly clear to the American middle class that Donald Trump is exposing the pretension of urban Eastern conservatism and the Republican Party leadership, who think they, and only they, know what’s best for all of us out here in flyover country. But what all those who fancy themselves our betters can’t process is that it is the very fact that they are so out of touch with ordinary folks that is Trump’s greatest attraction. The more the conservative aristocracy attacks Trump the more the people listening to him, those middle class working folks, are inclined to support him.

Many Americans born into Democrat households have said, as Reagan did, that they didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the party left them. One has to wonder how many millions of those Americans are beginning to think the same of the Republican Party. I’m not even a Trump follower, having voted for Cruz in my state primary, but I can tell you that with these attacks on the middle class and the blue-collar working class, these GOP elites and their conservative oracles are alienating me. Attack Trump all you want; he’s fair game, but don’t turn your frustrations from that back on mainstream America. You establishment Republicans loved flyover America when its denizens believed all your lies and forgave your endless broken promises to fix their broken country; but now you want to treat these same folks with contempt and disdain since they’ve found a candidate whom you say lies and promises even more convincingly than you.

National Review, how about putting more effort into understanding the reasons for Trump’s appeal and less into bashing his followers, a move guaranteed to make you Trump’s main recruiting office?

Unable to stop the phenomenon that has become the Trump movement by attacking its leader, the pretentious princes of the Grand Old Party are now resorting to attacking their own rebellious base, and it is clear that some conservative journalists are too willing to help them do it. The most disturbing of these attacks comes from what has become Trump’s most determined journalistic antagonist, National Review. That NR has now turned its guns on Middle America saddens me, for I have long been a reader and admirer of their many fine writers. I was truly dismayed recently when that conservative publication devoted an entire issue to destroying Trump with almost two dozen leading establishment editors and journalists writing opinion pieces against him. That effort to terminate Trump failed so miserably it is almost laughingly ironic, for not only did it get NR dropped from the next Republican debate, it further established Donald as the anti-establishment leader and broadened his attraction.

Perturbed by their failure to truncate the Trump campaign, National Review is now doubling down in a coming issue with a truly toxic article (behind a pay wall) by roving editor, Kevin D. Williamson. Toxic is the nicest way I can think of to characterize the malevolent tirade that Williamson has produced for a publication apparently hell-bent on reducing its readership to a tiny core of conservative purists. Williamson, who frequently likes to drop into his pieces the downhome bona fide that he’s from West Texas, has probably doomed his chances of ever leading any parades back home with his virulent attack on the blue-collar class, the workers who populate the two largest industries in that region, farming/ranching and the oilfield, in particular, the latter because of the recent collapse of oil prices.

Williamson apparently thinks blue-collar workers whose lives get turned upside down when their jobs disappear due to economic downturns or their manufacturing jobs getting shipped offshore or their mines closing due to new more restrictive government regulation, are all a bunch of worthless bums and crybabies who should just load up the pickup and become the new Okies. What with the absolute collapse of the energy industry in West Texas in the past year and unemployment through the roof, I think Kevin might find it somewhat difficult selling that concept to any of his fellow West Texans any time soon. I’d give up Mexican food for a year to see him stand on one of the dozens of idle drilling platforms and try to read that piece to a crowd of long-unemployed oilfield workers. Here are a few of Kevin’s insulting words (excerpted –and defended-- here):

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap, theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

Did you folks out there in Odessa and all the other oil patch communities get that? This conservative elitist says your town deserves to die. And that’s just a sample of the toxic rot in the lengthy article.  Jazz Shaw at Hot Air is shocked, like many other conservative authors who have read Williamson’s diatribe:

This is truly stunning. A broadside attack on America’s middle class is apparently the last recourse of truly lost and desperate souls. Worst of all, it’s a denial of reality. I don’t know how things are in hardscrabble, white West Texas, but I happen to live in one of those hardscrabble, white Upstate New York burgs and Kevin is living in some sort of dream world. Garbutt serves as a useful metaphor in his tale, but it bears little to no relevance to the reality these communities have dealt with nor the government policy failures which let them down. 

Well I do know how things are in hardscrabble, white West Texas, and they’re not good at all. Like me, Shaw has lived in stricken areas among the people that Williamson and National Review think just need to load up a U-Haul and move on to better prospects. I wonder if Kevin intends those emigrants to include members of my wife’s pioneering family of cowboys, ranchers, buffalo hunters and Indian fighters who have been on West Texas land for more than 150 years? Or members of my own family who have been working in that oil patch for sixty years? Most of them are suffering in varying degrees from the regional depression caused by the steep drop in oil prices. Those crybabies should simply abandon their homes, their schools, their churches, their old and debilitated, just pick up and go, huh, Kevin?

It is becoming increasingly clear to the American middle class that Donald Trump is exposing the pretension of urban Eastern conservatism and the Republican Party leadership, who think they, and only they, know what’s best for all of us out here in flyover country. But what all those who fancy themselves our betters can’t process is that it is the very fact that they are so out of touch with ordinary folks that is Trump’s greatest attraction. The more the conservative aristocracy attacks Trump the more the people listening to him, those middle class working folks, are inclined to support him.

Many Americans born into Democrat households have said, as Reagan did, that they didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the party left them. One has to wonder how many millions of those Americans are beginning to think the same of the Republican Party. I’m not even a Trump follower, having voted for Cruz in my state primary, but I can tell you that with these attacks on the middle class and the blue-collar working class, these GOP elites and their conservative oracles are alienating me. Attack Trump all you want; he’s fair game, but don’t turn your frustrations from that back on mainstream America. You establishment Republicans loved flyover America when its denizens believed all your lies and forgave your endless broken promises to fix their broken country; but now you want to treat these same folks with contempt and disdain since they’ve found a candidate whom you say lies and promises even more convincingly than you.

National Review, how about putting more effort into understanding the reasons for Trump’s appeal and less into bashing his followers, a move guaranteed to make you Trump’s main recruiting office?