A theory on Trump-loathing

Gerard Baker, in his weekly column in The Wall Street Journal, dated April 26, signaled that the paper hardly countenances a second presidential term for Donald J. Trump. 

He writes:

[T]he Republican Party is too important a political institution to continue to be a vehicle for this grand deception. The mess the other party has made of the country in 15 months is too extensive to risk the chance of further damage. There are too many capable Republicans who uphold high conservative ideals while embracing the populist values that are energizing the party's base, understand the need to abide by the U.S. Constitution, and believe in the importance of a Republican victory more than the satisfaction of their own self-grievance for it to be willingly shackled once again to the vanities of a cynical opportunist.

Will someone speak that truth at least?

In this regard, Baker suggests a softer dislike for Mr. Trump than that of Bret Stephens, who left the Journal for The New York Times, but seems equally ad hominem

The title of Baker's anti-Trump column, "GOP Leaders Remain Shackled to Donald Trump," indicates the blurred vision by which he views the former president.  For Baker, to be "shackled" to Mr. Trump is a bad thing.  Close to the end of his screed, Baker as much as predicts political disaster for the Republican Party should "it be shackled once again to the vanities of a cynical opportunist."  For the Trump base, Trump-shackling is what is called for to rid the country of this Biden disaster.

Earlier in this column, Baker writes of "the fervent desire of much of the Republican Party's top brass, its major donors, business leaders who urgently crave a Republican restorationand many of the party's most prominent supporters in the media and elsewhere ... for Mr. Trump to break the habits of a lifetime and go quietly away."  [Emphasis added.] These are the Republicans, Baker advises, who don't believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen, don't regard the "the Jan. 6 riots as a legitimate act of protest" that included "federal agents provocateurs [sic]." 

These are, also, the kind of Republicans who cave to the woke generation, rather than crave its withering away.

In his penultimate paragraph, Baker writes, "There are too many capable Republicans who uphold high conservative ideals while embracing the populist values that are energizing the party's base."  Let us stop there.  Whom does Gerard Baker think he's kidding?  The Wall Street Journal abhors populism; it shrinks from the populist mindset the way a vampire shrinks from daylight.  Baker's GOP "top brass," etc. are the creatures of the swamp that Donald Trump is committed to drain.  The "business leaders" cited by columnist Baker may have the arms of "Republicans," but their voices are the voices of woke-ists. 

By referring to Mr. Trump as a "cynical opportunist" columnist Baker reveals that he is ready to engage Trump -- and the Trumpists -- with the language of the political insult.  He is still far from the vitriol hurled regularly at Mr. Trump by the likes of a Bret Stephens from the propaganda section of The New York Times, but just wait.

Insults were regularly hurled at another great American, in the midst of the Civil War.  I am thinking of General Ulysses Grant, whose dismissal was sought on grounds of drunkenness, of alcoholism — as he was winning battles, as at Shiloh.  After that Tennessee battle, with its nearly 24,000 casualties on both sides, Lincoln was said to have brushed aside calls for Grant's dismissal with this: "I can't spare this man; he fights,"

The phenomenon of Trump-loathing from a Deep-Stater based on opposition to populism, or based on personal dislike, rejects the essence of Donald J. Trump's attractiveness to us populists: we can't spare this man; he fights.

Image: Library of Congress via Picryl, no known restrictions.

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