Saturday, January 05, 2019

The strength of Trump's character

Roger Kimball continues his debate with Jonah Goldberg about Trump's character in American Greatness.
...I believe President Trump has been astonishingly successful during his first two years. I believe further that his success is a testament to the strength of his character.

...I submit that anyone possessed of even a smidgen of what Henry James called “the imagination of disaster” will shudder at the prospect of what a Clinton presidency would have entailed. Who knows whom she would have nominated to the Supreme Court and other federal courts, what she would have done about taxes, about energy, about the plague of political correctness on college campuses, about military spending, about border security, about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, about religious freedom, about militant Islamism, about American manufacturing, about the size of government and the burdens of the regulatory state. And who knows what she would not have done, such as prime the economy to ensure near record peacetime employment and strong economic growth—which are moral acts in themselves given the millions whose lives have already been changed for the better.

...The most important pro-Trump essay to have been published on the run-up to the 2016 election undoubtedly was “The Flight 93 Election” by Michael Anton (writing then under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus). The most famous bit of that essay—an essay Jonah took to task when it appeared—is the arresting comparison of the election to the doomed United Flight 93. The airliner was commandeered by murderous al-Qaeda fanatics. The only chance the passengers had was to storm the cockpit and try to retake control of the plane. The United States, Anton argued, faced an analogous peril. Its controls had been commandeered by people who would ruin us unless stopped. There was no guarantee that storming the “cockpit” of government by electing Donald Trump would save us. But it was our only hope.

...The reason I am happy to say that Donald Trump, despite his imperfections, is a man of good character is that he has again and again shown himself to be willing to storm the cockpit of our corrupt, sclerotic, and increasingly unaccountable governmental apparatus. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and by implication (and it was part of his genius to make this connection) on behalf of people everywhere. He understands that his job is to put America first, but that by so doing he benefits everyone with whom we deal. Those things, I think, are marks of good character.

...When one surveys the extraordinarily vituperative, monolithic, and unfair coverage under which the president and anyone associated him struggle it is easy to see why Donald Trump castigates “fake news” and thinks about revisiting decisions like New York Times v. Sullivan. Far from being an assault on the First Amendment, I’d say it was an effort to protect it by limiting its abuse.
Read more here.

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