Monday, February 15, 2016

Donald Trump and the Art of Getting Away with It

When you’re Donald Trump you can get away with anything. Perhaps that’s what people like about Trump. Who wouldn’t like to get away with anything?

How many politicians do you know who can get away with anything? Does the name Bill Clinton come to mind?

At Saturday night’s debate the Donald had what the Wall Street Journal called a moment. One might also call it an Al Franken, Michael Moore, Code Pink moment, too.

Attacked for being a liberal disguised as a conservative the Donald channeled a fundamental slogan of the radical left, the one that was used to blame Bush-- and presumably all of the Senators and Representatives who voted with him-- for the Iraq War.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of the slogan. Nowadays everyone blames Bush entirely for the war and forgets Congressional authorization. Those who were anti-war, led by Barack Obama, wanted to produce a policy shift. They wanted America to withdraw completely from Iraq.

Now that they have gotten their way, how’s that one working out?

If you don’t recall, the anti-war, anti-military, pro-political correctness left was marching and chanting: Bush lied; people died. Al Franken wrote a book called: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. It helped propel him into the U. S. Senate.

The Wall Street Journal editorializes:

By now it’s a cliché that Donald Trump can say anything he wants, and his supporters don’t care…. Maybe that will be true again after Saturday night’s debate in South Carolina, but someone has to point out how the GOP presidential frontrunner has adopted the political left’s worldview on fundamental questions—including blatant distortions of fact.

The Journal is correct. The greatness of Trump is that he does not need to deal with petty details… like facts.

The Journal continues:

Take his full-throated endorsement of the conspiracy theory that the George W. Bush Administration deliberately lied to get the U.S. into the Iraq war. “You call it whatever you want. I wanna tell you. They lied,” Mr. Trump replied to a question by CBS moderator John Dickerson.“They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

Now that we recall what the Donald said, the Journal takes pains to inform of us the facts. We keep in mind that the charge of lying—which Trump, like Al Franken likes to throw around promiscuously, almost as though he is flinging at against the wall to see whether it sticks—must mean that the Bush administration and all of those who voted for the war knew that there were no WMD, but said there were anyway.

In fact, the Bush administration sponsored an independent investigation about the point:

Despite years of investigation and countless memoirs, there is no evidence for this claim. None. The CIA director at the time, George Tenet, famously called evidence of WMD in Iraq a “slam dunk.” Other intelligence services, including the British, also believed Saddam Hussein had such programs. After the first Gulf War in 1991 the CIA had been surprised to learn that Saddam had far more WMD capability than it had thought. So it wasn’t crazy to suspect that Saddam would attempt to rebuild it after he had expelled United Nations arms inspectors in the late 1990s.

President Bush empowered a commission, led by former Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb and federal Judge Laurence Silberman, to dig into the WMD question with access to intelligence and officials across the government. The panel included Patricia Wald, a former chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals appointed by Jimmy Carter, and Richard Levin, president of Yale University at the time.

Their report of more than 600 pages concludes that it was the CIA’s “own independent judgments—flawed though they were—that led them to conclude Iraq had active WMD programs.” The report adds that “the Commission found no evidence of political pressure” to alter intelligence findings: “Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter their analytical judgments.”

Did Trump know about the report? Probably not.

Was he willing to accept the leftist slogan without checking on the evidence? Perhaps he was.

Will any of it matter to the voters of South Carolina? Probably not.

Was the Donald going with his gut? Undoubtedly he was.

Do you want someone who thinks with his gut choosing Antonin Scalia's replacement on the Supreme Court?

I leave that one to you.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"How many politicians do you know who can get away with anything? Does the name Bill Clinton come to mind?"

Yes, and also Barack Hussein Obama.

"Do you want someone who thinks with his gut choosing Antonin Scalia's replacement on the Supreme Court?"

I thought this was one of Bush 43's great foibles: nominating Harriet Meiers. Yes, he withdrew the nomination, but the damage was done. Loss of credibility.

Marsh said...

Stuart, GWB screwed up. He hurt our party and he hurt our country. We should never have gone into Iraq. Even Jeb understands that.

Trump didn't just go w/ his gut, he purposely and w/ great skill placed a dagger into the legacy of GWB and the GOP establishment/ the political class. As someone said on Twitter the other night: Trump poured gasoline on neocon foreign policy and set it on fire.

We're tired of the perpetual wars, where we never win a damned thing. We should only take action to defend our interest. And when we fight we should fight to win or not fight at all. Nation building is bull shit. Our country is unique from the rest of the world and we should stop trying to remake the rest of the world over in our image.

Is Trump going to get away w/ dealing this potentially crippling blow? I sure hope so.

Nick said...

If the Kuwati kids from my school knew to leave the country days before 9\11, then the Bush administration knew something. You're Trump bashing is getting tiresome. He is much better suited to these times than any other candidate. I love watching the Conservative intelligentsia throw a fit over Trump. They failed to do anything but enrich themselves, and now they are paying the price for being losers. I will take 4 years of Hillary if it means the Republican party is destroyed and replaced. Screw them all. We're firing the gov't. Better this than another Civil War.

priss rules said...

I think people like Trump because he says things that many people want to hear from politicians. But most politicians play it safe by sucking up to globalist donors.

There is a 'bad boy' element to Trump-ism, but the upside to this is he seems independent and less beholden to those who pull the strings.

Is it all just an act? Probably.

But he's more fun than others.