Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dennis Prager-- Still Crazy After All These Years

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Robert Mueller by Nancy Ohanian

Right-wing propagandist Dennis Prager and I were born a few months apart and we lived near each other in Brooklyn. I went to James Madison High School; he went to the nearby Yeshiva of Flatbush on Avenue J., as did a number of other crackpots like Meir Kahane and Abraham Foxman (as well as non-crackpot, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi), Like me, he washed up in L.A. where he worked as a radio presenter, first doing programs about Judaism and eventually just standard Republican Hate Talk Radio, albeit from a Jewish perspective. His bigotry and racism are couched in his phony-baloney Old Testament persona. Yesterday he wrote a deranged column for National Review attacking conservatives who haven't acquiesced to the golden pig Señor Trumpanzee.

It's part of his shtik to say he's trying to understand conservatives who are still opposing Trump, who Prager hasn't figured out is an existential threat to democracy and to America. "I have concluded," he wrote, "that there are a few reasons that explain conservatives who were Never-Trumpers during the election, and who remain anti-Trump today." He has a different existential battle rattling around in his crazy head.
The first and, by far, the greatest reason is this: They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.

While they strongly differ with the Left, they do not regard the left–right battle as an existential battle for preserving our nation. On the other hand, I, and other conservative Trump supporters, do.

That is why, after vigorously opposing Trump’s candidacy during the Republican primaries, I vigorously supported him once he won the nomination. I believed then, as I do now, that America was doomed if a Democrat had been elected president. With the Supreme Court and hundreds of additional federal judgeships in the balance; with the Democrats’ relentless push toward European-style socialism-- completely undoing the unique American value of limited government; the misuse of the government to suppress conservative speech; the continuing degradation of our universities and high schools; the weakening of the American military; and so much more, America, as envisioned by the Founders, would have been lost, perhaps irreversibly. The “fundamental transformation” that candidate Barack Obama promised in 2008 would have been completed by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

To my amazement, no anti-Trump conservative writer sees it that way. They all thought during the election, and still think, that while it would not have been a good thing if Hillary Clinton had won, it wouldn’t have been a catastrophe either.

That’s it, in a nutshell. Many conservatives, including me, believe that it would have been close to over for America as America if the Republican candidate, who happened to be a flawed man named Donald Trump, had not won. Moreover, I am certain that only Donald Trump would have defeated Hillary Clinton.

In other words, I believe that Donald Trump may have saved the country. And that, in my book, covers a lot of sins-- foolish tweets, included.

The Never Trump conservative argument that Trump is not a conservative-- one that I, too, made repeatedly during the Republican primaries-- is not only no longer relevant, it is no longer true.

Had any Never Trump conservative been told, say in the summer of 2015, that a Republican would win the 2016 election and, within his first few months in office, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court; begin the process of replacing Obamacare; bomb Russia’s ally Assad after he again used chemical weapons; appoint the most conservative cabinet in modern American history; begin undoing hysteria-based, economy-choking EPA regulations; label the Iranian regime “evil” in front of 50 Muslim heads of state; wear a yarmulke at the Western Wall; appoint a U.N. ambassador who regularly condemns the U.N. for its moral hypocrisy; restore the military budget; and work on lowering corporate tax rates, among other conservative achievements-- that Never Trump conservative would have been jumping for joy.

So, why aren’t anti-Trump conservatives jumping for joy?

I have come to believe that many conservatives possess what I once thought was a left-wing monopoly-- a utopian streak. Trump is too far from their ideal leader to be able to support him.

There is also a cultural divide. Anti-Trump conservatives are a very refined group of people. Trump doesn’t talk like them. Moreover, the cultural milieu in which the vast majority of anti-Trump conservatives live and/or work means that to support Trump is to render oneself contemptible at all elite dinner parties.

In addition, anti-Trump conservatives see themselves as highly moral people (which they often are) who are duty-bound not to compromise themselves by strongly supporting Trump, whom they largely view as morally defective.

Finally, these people are only human: After investing so much energy in opposing Trump’s election, and after predicting his nomination would lead to electoral disaster, it’s hard for them to admit they were wrong. To see him fulfill many of his conservative election promises, again in defiance of predictions, is a bitter pill. But if they hang on to their Never Trumpism and the president falls on his face, they can say they were right all along.

That means that only if he fails can their reputations be redeemed. And they, of course, know that.

But there is another way. They can join the fight. They can accept an imperfect reality and acknowledge that we are in a civil war, and that Trump, with all his flaws, is our general. If this general is going to win, he needs the best fighters. But too many of them, some of the best minds of the conservative movement, are AWOL.

I beg them: Please report for duty.
Matt Lewis responded to Prager's bullshit at the Daily Beast this morning. "A common denominator for Trump backers," he wrote, "might be a belief in an apocalyptic future-- lacking their Trumpian savior, of course. Likewise, Never Trumpers did not see a Trump loss as the end of America. But that is only one of the differences that separate the pro-Trump conservatives from the Never Trumpers... Conservatives who are viscerally turned off by the Trump cult of personality prize things like the rule of law and balance of powers. Part of what this means is that the idea of a ruling class repels us. We believe the maxim that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we instead celebrate the system and institutions that check the accumulation of power. We see dissent as patriotic. We see the messianic impulse of some Americans as a very dangerous tendency. We believe that it’s not healthy to put politicians on a pedestal. We believe you should respect your leaders and pray for them-- but not to them... [H]e works for us. And we shouldn’t ever let him forget it."


Jonah Goldberg, another right-wing asshole writing in yesterday's National Review took offense. "I’m not going to try to psychoanalyze Dennis’s motivations here," he wrote. But I will say that this essay reads more like an effort to affirm what a talk-radio audience wants to hear than a good-faith effort to understand and persuade conservatives that he claims to admire. If Dennis is truly interested in persuading the very diverse group of conservative Trump critics on the right, my advice would be to call them on the phone and ask them why they-- we-- say what they say and do what they do. Insinuating that conservative thinkers and writers are vain elitists who are betraying their cause by not becoming spinners (never mind soldiers) is not, to my mind, the best way to persuade them-- or me-- of anything."

I wonder if Prager will bring Goldberg a matzo brei laced with arsenic.


What's not to like?

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4 Comments:

At 10:49 PM, OpenID howmuchtoknow said...

I first encountered Prager today, in fact -- one of his "Prager U" videos giving a completely skewed explanation of the Vietnam War ("We just needed to use nukes and we would have won") was a preroll ad on a youtube video I wanted to watch.. Apparently he's got his tentacles in a bunch of school systems too -- teachers force their students to watch his historical indoctrination videos.

 
At 12:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow me to reiterate: His Hairness, as president, is a merely a SYMPTOM of the all-but-destroyed "great American experiment in self-governance."

His Hairness DOES embody the force that has destroyed America ... and whatever democracy it may have had.

That force is corrupt, criminal, predatory, murderous capitalism and that force would NOT have been combatted under an HRC regime nor would it be in any way weakened even if His Hairness were impeached and convicted.

John Puma

 
At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Prager believe that Bannon and the other Nazis (Neo- and otherwise) will allow him to retain his wealth and position because they see him as "ein guter Jude"?

Collaborator! Putz!

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP again nails it.

I would add that even in Germany in '32, the Nazi party got jewish votes. In this country there are jews who are for the drumpfsterfire in spite of his and his staff's overt anti-Semitism. Perhaps the spectacle of bibi licking his ass publicly is enough for them.

There are also gays and blacks and even some latins who are for the drumpfsterfire.

Just proves that humans are capable of unbounded stupidity. I mean, dandelion-like intellect.

And America has more than anyone else.

 

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