Turning Against Trump

People who pride themselves on rational thinking know there are few feelings worse than being wrong about something, especially something that they made a big noise about at the time.  What helps lessen this intellectual humiliation is understanding that, given the information available at the time, the decision was a rational one at the time.  The remedy for the initial error is to use the newly available information to reach a more reasoned decision.

As the campaign season goes forward, we’re learning more about Donald Trump’s politics and seeing his initial ebullient puckishness too often give way to self-referential arrogance and venomous hubris.  Now is a good time for Trump supporters to use this new information to revisit their original conclusion about him and to realize, with no shame attached, that he’s not the candidate they thought he was.

When Trump first appeared on the 2015 political scene, he was a breath of fresh air.  Most conservatives enjoyed his irreverence in tweaking the media rules favoring Progressives and demonizing conservatives -- rules before which Republicans had long bowed down. It was galvanizing to hear Trump state in plain English that we need to address the holes in immigration that allow Islamic terrorists easy entry, even if doing so meant temporarily stopping all Muslim immigration until we figure out how to separate the moderate wheat from the murderous chaff.

Likewise, Hillary’s opponents enjoyed his refusal to allow Hillary’s double-X chromosomes to stifle the fact that the only woman Hillary supports is Hillary.  To that end, she enabled her husband’s predatory, misogynistic sexual misbehavior for more than thirty years.   Trump was the first Republican to remind everyone how appalling and hypocritical Hillary’s behavior has been.

Early on, Trump was loud about conservative positions:  Securing our borders; supporting Israel; ending the abortion culture, and protecting Second Amendment rights. It therefore seemed as if the dream conservative candidate was presenting himself.  Here was a man who bulldozed the political correctness that stifles conservative thought and who openly, and in simple language, embraced conservative positions.  Based upon that information, it was eminently reasonable to support Donald Trump.

The media also encouraged Trump’s candidacy. He was good for ratings and they considered him un-electable. Given the media’s overwhelming progressive bias, they wanted to advance a Republican candidate they were sure would lose.  They therefore gave him 25 times more coverage than the rest of the GOP field combined.  That’s a lot of free advertising in a nation that appreciates colorful characters.  

For months, then, for someone bewildered by the exceptionally crowded Republican field, Trump seemed like the answer to seven years of Obama’s efforts to turn America into another saggy, flabby semi-socialist country; to hand the Middle East over to Putin; and to tear down our national security by destroying America’s borders and having our military focus obsessively on climate change and social re-engineering.

That was then.  This is now. Now the opposition research is finally coming to light, and it seems that Trump (shame on him, not shame on you) has been lying to America’s conservatives.  Up until he threw himself into this election cycle, Trump was the very model of a modern elite Progressive.  Moreover, as the campaign progresses, his current statements give the lie to his past promises. Specifically:

Trump on party affiliation:  Trump changes political parties like Will Smith’s son changes clothes -- with frequent regularity and without any coherent belief system driving his decisions.  When it comes to an ideological home, Trump has never demonstrated fixed principles. In a present, fixed principles are nice.

Trump on political donations:  For decades Trump has donated to both Democrats and Republicans.  In 2006, he donated heavily to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, helping them retake Congress from the Republicans.  Over the years, even when donating to both Democrats and Republicans, Democrats got the larger share of the wealth.

Some say that, as a wise businessman, Trump needed to keep both parties happy -- an argument that ignores the fact that his donations skewed Left over the years. However, when you’re voting for president, wouldn’t you prefer someone who was guided over the years at least a little bit by principle, not just profit?  

As a conservative, would you ever, under any circumstances, donate to Nancy Pelosi?  If you answer “no” to that question, you need to ask yourself why you’re forgiving the same conduct in Donald Trump.

Trump on socialized medicine:  Conservatives don’t like socialized medicine or semi-socialized Obamacare. Why?  Because:

(1) The only way government can control costs is to ration care -- which is why old people in England are so often put on death pathways. 

(2) Without market competition, medical care providers can get away with murderously bad behavior.  The VA, which traps veterans in a socialist medical hell, is a perfect example. 

(3) The preeminent WHO study Leftists cite to disparage the American system was a con, having as its highest metric the fact that a medical system is socialized, and giving scant attention to actual outcomes.  

(4) The data used to compare American outcomes to those in other nations is often apples versus oranges, falsely disparaging American care.

(5) Conservatives know that, in medicine, as in all other aspects of the economy, the free market is the surest way to achieve the best product at the lowest prices, something as true for buying medical insurance as it is for buying medical care.

But what does Donald Trump believe?  According to a recent interview, it turns out that Trump supports fully socialized medicine, with the government as the only paying customer (using dollars it forcibly extracts from taxpayers, of course)

I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.


I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people.


The government’s gonna pay for it.

Please realize that what Trump is advocating is an even purer from of socialized medicine than Obamacare. The latter at least clings to a pretense of the free market insofar as it still allows insurance (even though insurers are forced to provide government-controlled insurance and consumers are forced to buy that insurance or go without). Trump’s dream, however, is as pure as Britain’s National Health Service, where everyone sees a doctor for free, but the care is abysmal those deemed too expensive to care for (the old and very sick) are left to die.

Trump on eminent domain for crony benefit:  If you’ve heard the phrase “eminent domain” tossed about a bit regarding Trump, but aren’t quite sure what it is, here’s a quick primer:

The Fifth Amendment allows government to forcibly purchase private property for a fair price if that purchase is for the public good (e.g., roads or reservoirs).  The Supreme Court, in Kelo v. City of New London, fundamentally changed traditional eminent domain principles by removing the public good from the equation.

Kelo held that government can force the sale of private property to another individual citizen (usually a large developer) for the latter’s financial benefit. The standard is no longer the public good, but the possibly that a development might increase tax revenue. A decision that allows government coercion in the service of cronyism is as bad as it gets.

Trump, however, liked crony-based eminent domain. The only thing that stopped Trump in the 1990s from using government force to seize a widow’s home so that he could build a parking lot was a pre-Kelo court decision holding that government could not use eminent domain to benefit one of its cronies.  

Trump currently professes to value eminent domain only in its purest, constitutional form. Trump’s history, though, which he hasn’t disavowed, shows that he has no compunction about using government force as his private economic army.

Trump on the Iraq War:  During the South Carolina debate, Trump savagely attacked Jeb Bush by claiming that George W. Bush lied to get America into war. Trump added that, with his usual acumen, he always knew that the Iraq War would be a disaster.

Given South Carolina’s support for Dubya, Trump showed a disturbing intemperance in attacking him. Conservatives may argue about the wisdom of the Iraq War, but they don’t believe Bush lied. They believe instead that he made his decision on the best information available at the time.  Whatever else Bush was, he wasn’t a liar. The lead Republican candidate shouldn’t sound like a Daily Kos blogger.

Trump’s alleged insights and long-standing anti-war stance are also untrue.  Trump believed as early as 2000 that Iraq was working to get WMDs.  Moreover, in the critical time from 2001-2004, there’s no evidence that Trump ever said a word about the wisdom of going into Iraq.  Trump lied on that South Carolina stage and he slandered a good man, as well as all the people who supported that good man.

During a recent press conference, Trump made a profoundly ignorant statement about pre-War Iraq.  He praised Saddam Hussein. Iraq today, says Trump, Iraq a “Harvard for terrorism,” not because Obama’s premature withdrawal created a vacuum into which terrorism flowed, but because before the war “Saddam Hussein understood and he killed terrorists.” 

Wow.  Just wow.  Aside from giving the anti-War Left and Barack Obama a complete pass, that’s just historically wrong.  The reality is that Saddam Hussein, in addition to using genocidal terrorism against Iraqi Kurds, and generally terrorizing his own people, routinely funded and sheltered terrorists.

In the face of this newly revealed re-write of his own personal history and ignorance about Iraq, is Trump really ready to lead America on foreign policy?

Trump on Israel.  Politically-conservative Jews, some of whom I know well and respect greatly, flocked to Trump because, when he first hit the campaign trail, he was unabashed in his support for Israel.  He forcefully criticized Obama’s approach to Israel, and recognized that Obama’s agreement with Iran sold Israel down the river. His open support for Israel, combined with his recognition that Islam is a threat to the West, made him an appealing candidate for people tired of RINOs who did little to stop Obama.

Recently, though, Trump has backed down from supporting Israel.  He now insists that he’ll be “neutral” about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.  Neutrality, of course, implies that he finds each side’s position reasonable, and therefore cannot take sides.  Those who support Israel do not agree with this moral relativism. 

On the one hand, you have a liberal democracy that extends full civil rights to all of its citizens, that opens its religious sites to all comers, and that has repeatedly traded land (and prisoners) for peace.  That would be Israel, a dynamic, life-oriented, pro-capitalist nation that has long been a friend to America.

On the other hand, you have a totalitarian theocracy that wants a blood purge of the Middle East, making it judenrein; that is misogynistic, homophobic, anti-American, anti-Christian; that uses peace initiatives as an opportunity to expand its killing abilities; that hides behind civilians during war; and that recently has been encouraging its young people to stab to death as many Israeli citizens as possible. 

And between these two parties, Trump now professes neutrality?  I don’t think so.

In addition to moral relativism, Trump’s recent statements reveal him to be all over the board when it comes to whether a deal can be brokered (probably not except he can probably do it) and who’s really at fault in the Middle East (they’re both bad but Israel maybe isn’t trying).

If you support Israel, shouldn’t this new information change your belief that Trump will support the only liberal democracy in the Middle East?

Trump on Planned Parenthood:  Donald Trump has claimed since 2011 that he is pro-Life.  Fair enough, even if his pro-Life views are rather strange.  What’s disturbing is that Trump still supports Planned Parenthood.

In 2011 alone, Planned Parenthood aborted 333,964 babies, with special emphasis on aborting minority babies (something that would have made Margaret Sanger proud).  Whether they’re pro-Life or not, conservatives understand that it’s wrong for American taxpayers to provide 45% of Planned Parenthood’s funding.  

If the issue really is “women’s health,” there are many other women’s health clinics that provide comprehensive healthcare short of abortion.  Planned Parenthood’s insistence that it doesn’t use federal dollars to pay for abortions is meaningless.  Money is fungible, after all, and the dollars it doesn’t have to spend on paying for utilities, supplies, and staff, can go to abortion services.  For the financially-savvy Trump, who understands money’s fungibility, to continue to support Planned Parenthood makes no sense.

Trump on Hillary Clinton:  Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump’s opponent in this race, and we can be sure that he will rip her to shreds (although he’s currently more interested in shredding Republican candidates, a circular firing squad approach to the primaries that is terribly damaging to the conservative brand).  In the past, though, Trump thought highly of Hillary.  

When Trump married his current wife, in 2005, the Clintons attended.  Seven years later, in 2012, he was raving about the wonders of Hillary:

Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman. I am biased because I have known her for years. I live in New York. She lives in New York. I really like her and her husband both a lot. I think she really works hard.

Trump also admired Hillary as Secretary of State:  “I think she really works hard and I think she does a good job. I like her.”

Admittedly, Hillary has moved to the Left recently in a bizarre attempt to outflank Communist Bernie Sanders, but she’s was in 2005 and 2012 pretty much what she’s always been and still is now:  A woman who’s used men and trampled on other women to achieve her political rise; an ideologue who dotes on her vision of Big Government; a compulsive liar; and someone who seems drawn to corruption like a moth to a flame. 

If Trump can’t explain the reason he’s turned on Hillary, other than his personal ambition to get to the White House, it’s reasonable to believe that Trump’s current attacks on Hillary are merely to assuage his new conservative base and have nothing to do with his core faith in her.

Trump on overseas labor:  Trump shot to fame on the subject of immigration.  His first line of attack was against the Muslims the Obama administration wants to admit, even though the administration concedes it current cannot vet incoming immigrants for terrorist ties.  Having succeeded with this stance, Trump expanded the immigration debate to say that he intends to stop illegal immigration altogether by building a wall and forcing Mexico to pay for it.

Many conservatives agree with Trump’s willingness to speak bluntly on the issue of illegal immigration.  A sovereign state must have control over its borders; otherwise, it’s Rome when the barbarians overwhelmed it, first by unlimited immigration, then by force of arms.

Except. . . .  Except that it appears that Trump’s anti-immigrant stance doesn’t extend to protecting American workers.  Trump talks about immigrants taking American jobs or, worse, having American jobs shipped right out of the country, but Trump’s business practices don’t support his words. Trump’s line of clothing is manufactured overseas and has been for a long time.  Moreover, Trump has been lying about this for a long time too, telling everyone he doesn’t ship jobs overseas when, in fact, he does.

Character matters.  The whole overseas labor issue does not reflect well on Trump’s character.

Trump on Putin:  Conservatives have been concerned that Barack Obama has welcomed Vladimir Putin as a Middle Eastern savior.  Starting with Syria, Obama basically turned the Middle East over to Putin who is using his new status there, along with the cozy relationship he’s always had with Iran, to resurrect the Cold War glories of Russian world domination.  What’s freaky is that Trump views Putin the same way -- as a great guy to work with, as someone who can get the job done in Syria, and as a potential ally.  Really?

Trump’s dishonesty.  All politicians puff and shade the narrative.  They are, after all, selling a product (themselves) and we accept that they’re going to heighten the good stuff and downplay the bad stuff.  And then there’s Donald Trump.  What was not obvious at the end of 2015, when Trump was gaining a foothold with fed-up conservatives is that Trump is a Hillaryesque liar. 

Take, for example, Trump’s bankruptcies. During the South Carolina debate, Trump denied ever filing for bankruptcy.  In fact, Trump has filed for bankruptcy four different times to prop up his business. 

Trump’s claim that his campaign is entirely self-funded is also untrue.  In fact, the majority of his campaign money comes from donors.  Likewise, those donations Trump solicited for veterans, implying that they’d go directly to veteran’s causes, instead go into his personal foundation.  And as noted above, Trump has consistently lied about his willingness to circumvent American labor for cheap overseas worker.

Trump’s stability:  When his run for the White House was still something of a lark, Trump’s pugnacious style was leavened with a bit of humor and cheer.  He was his reality-TV self -- pushy, outspoken, but kind of goofy/funny.  Recently, though Trump has become darker and meaner in his attacks on his opponents?

It started with the spat with Megyn Kelly.  If Trump wanted to make war with the media . . . well, whatever.  Since then, though, Trump’s increasingly in your face, vicious, and often obscene or bizarre attacks on his primary opponents are becoming worrisome.

Take, for example, Trump calling Cruz a “pussy.”  This is silly because Cruz is disliked by Senate RINOs because he is willing to stand and fight. What’s more upsetting is that a candidate would use a sexual insult in a national forum. It’s worse than just tone, though.  The bigger issue is whether we want as President someone who resorts to obscene school yard name-calling in a fight.  (See also Trump’s recent claims that he’ll going to sue Cruz for just about everything.)

The South Carolina primary revealed some other cracks in the Trump facade.  He didn’t look like a happy warrior when he kept saying Rubio “sweats” too much to be effective or when he went full Daily Kos against Jeb and embraced the “Bush lied, people died” mantra.  Instead, he looked feral and unstable.

Trump’s South Carolina performance made for dynamic reality TV, but an American president is real life. Angry hysteria will be a problem in the Situation Room during a crisis or when engaged in delicate debates with foreign leaders.  If you believe, as John Podhoretz does, that Trump went beyond the pale in South Carolina, you need to think about his future performance as president.

Conclusion.  The Trump who burst onto the political scene in 2015 was a breath of fresh air.  He blew apart the Leftist shibboleths that stifle political debate in America.  He spoke truth about our porous border, about Hillary’s misogyny, about Muslim terrorism and immigration, and about myriad othyer problems with Obama’s policies at home and abroad.  He presented himself as a successful problem-solver, a dynamo unfettered by political correctness, and a clean slate uncorrupted by political dealings.  No wonder conservatives who were long ago abandoned by the Republican political machine flocked to his banner.

It’s become clear that Donald Trump has been lying to frustrated conservatives.  Politically, he’s almost indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, the friend he supported for so many years.  He wants socialized medicine, he thinks “Bush lied, people died,” he approves of taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood, he likes turning the Middle East over to Vladimir Putin, he believes Israel is every bit as bad as the Iran-supported Muslims who seek her destruction, and he’s got a tin ear and a temper that do not bode well for a job as this nation’s chief executive officer.

Dear Trump supporters:  There was no shame in your offering him your support in 2015 when he appeared as a brave, fun, and energetic conservative.  Now, though, there’s no shame in your backing away from that support in the face of new information showing he’s not the man you thought he was. 

Bookworm blogs at bookwormroom.com.

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