The erudite George Will, who has been writing about Republican politics since the mid-1970s and who declared this year he was no longer a Republican because of Donald Trump, says it’s bitter to learn he has no influence over people who vote Republican no matter how much ink is spilled or how many trees are killed to put his words into print.
“After some 40 years as a political thought leader, I cannot say that anything I say has any influence on anyone at any time or in any place,” he says. “I guess that makes me a . . . nothing, because the whole rationale for my professional existence is to shape Republican attitudes and policy, and I see now that I have less influence than a truck mechanic I met in in Altoona, Pa., who persuaded his wife to vote for Donald Trump.”
Will said it especially hurts to learn he has no influence over anyone, because he’s queued up many erudite words to use in forthcoming columns. “I have a particularly wicked use of ‘redoubt’ lined up for a December column in the National Review,” he says. “And I’ve lately found new uses for ‘obdurate,’ which I haven’t used since a Washington Post column in 2015. It’s just really a slap in the face that none of these words has any influence on anyone at any time.”
Of course, Will isn’t alone in having no reason to exist as a conservative writer. Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush who earns his living shaping Republican opinion in the Washington Post, says its taken a while to sink in that no one who votes Republican cares what he has to say no matter how much time he puts to thinking how he should say it.
“Two weeks before the election I spent six hours on a column that made clear Donald Trump was unfit for office,” he says. “Four of those hours were spent writing and re-writing what I thought was a particularly effective sentence, ‘Take away this appeal, and there is nothing left but grasping, pathetic vanity.’ At first I was going to say ‘inappropriate vanity,’ and then I thought of calling it ’embarrassing vanity,’ and for a while I was even thinking of saying ‘nauseating vanity,’ but after an egg-salad sandwich and a glass of iced tea, I hit on ‘grasping, pathetic vanity,’ and I knew I had my zinger. Unfortunately, it didn’t zing anyone into action, if anyone actually read it.”
Gerson says he might become a Democrat, because Democrats still appear to listen to their thought leaders, at least a little. “Although historically they’re in the working man’s party, Democrats these days tend to be a little more intellectual than Republicans, so they probably still have some appreciation for what their thought leaders say,” he says. “So, I think the work I do would be more appreciated. Too bad I believe in small government and the sanctity of life. But it’s either suck it up and have an impact, or admit what I do is irrelevant. I guess I’ll have to suck it up.”
Will said it shouldn’t be that hard for him to become a Democrat, because he’s already renounced his affiliation with the Republicans. “I’ve got books to sell,” he says. “I’ve got columns for people to read and thoughts for people to appreciate. I’ve got to do what I was put on this earth to do: influence people.”
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George Will, the Pulitzer Prize winning conservative commentator known for his intellectual gravitas and biting wit, sent shockwaves through Washington when he quit the Republican party in late June, saying, “This is not my party.” The voters react. “Are you talking about that guy with the bow tie? I’d like to punch him in the face.”—Darrell Banks, retired pig farmer, Terra Haute, Ind. “He’s on TV, right?”–Arnold Smith, equipment salesman, North Platte, Neb. “He sounds like he has money. You think he’d like to see my picture?”–Mary Barton, waitress, Harrisonville, Mo. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
David Hume to Donald Trump: ‘I was only kidding about preferring the destruction of the world to the scratching of my finger’
The brilliant Scottish philosopher David Hume, whose Treatise of Human Nature in 1739 turned the world of moral philosophy upside down and spurred Immanuel Kant to write his momentous critical philosophy in response, arose from the dead today to tell Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that he was only kidding when he said it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to prefer the destruction of the world to the scratching of one’s finger “Donald, when I wrote my Treatise I was only 23 years old and was a little full of myself at the time,” said Hume, who died in 1776 at the age of 65. “It was my view, as a brash young man looking to make a name for himself, that reason is the slave of emotions and our moral views are based on our passions, not on our reason. That’s why I said—I’m not sure of the exact words, but it was something like, ‘It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.’ More.
President-elect Donald Trump said he appreciates the gracious concession call he received from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, after the results of their bitter presidential contest were finalized. But he also said he wouldn’t have extended the same courtesy to her had he won the popular vote but lost the electoral college the way she did. “’What a rigged system!’ is how I would have put it,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News this morning. “To win more votes than the other candidate and still lose the election? Of course I would have accused the system of being rigged. Who wouldn’t? Hillary Clinton wouldn’t, that’s who. And I appreciate that.” More.
With all signs pointing to a historic drop in the stock market should he win election, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has begun calling the crash the “Obama Crash,” which he says is due to the country’s anemic growth under the Democratic president. “This crash, when it happens, will be the fault of Hillary Clinton’s president, because he never got the economy growing when he was in the White House,” Trump said today at a rally in Altoona, Pa. “The guy was a community organizer. He couldn’t get the economy growing after he crashed the economy eight years ago. We shouldn’t be surprised, folks. We saw this coming.” More.
With Donald Trump nearing the presidency, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have lined up to collect the cabinet posts for which they’ve sold their souls, and there’s disagreement over how the spoils should be divided up. Christie says he should be given the Attorney General post, but Gingrich says he wouldn’t mind having that. Giuliani says he could take that post, too. Giuliani says he’d also like to have Secretary of Defense, and Gingrich says he’d be okay with that if he can have Secretary of State. “I have the stature for it,” Gingrich says. Plus, it would put him fourth in line for the presidency should Trump get food poisoning at one of his hotel restaurants and die. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said at a press conference this morning that, during his 18-month campaign for office, he weakened the very foundations on which American democracy rests. He questioned the legitimacy of President Obama, threatened not to accept the election results if they didn’t go his way, denigrated the judicial system, insulted his opponents, and tacitly endorsed racist, bigoted, and misogynistic views. Even so, he’ll he a good leader of the very institutions he tried to undermine. “I had to get to this point first,” he told reporters at the press conference. “I didn’t want to pull the rug out from underneath our democracy, but how else was I going to win? Believe me, it makes it that much harder for me to govern now that I’m here. But I had to do what I had to do.” More.
After what they call eight years of failed American foreign policy by the Obama administration, House Republican leaders say it’s time to spin off the country’s diplomacy and statesmanship to the private sector. “The United States was built by our world-leading companies,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a press conference in the Capitol this morning. “The government doesn’t build Chevrolets. General Motors does. The country doesn’t make computers. Apple does. Today, it’s time to unleash our private sector on our foreign policy and do what our government has never been able to do: create peace and prosperity around the world.” Under the plan Ryan and other leaders unveiled, the heads of GM, AT&T, Citibank, and other multinational corporations would work with leaders of countries around the world to replace war with peace and confrontation with cooperation. More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged he plans to govern as a dictator but he wanted to reassure voters that he would make decisions in the interests of the country. “When I curb the press, it wont be to hurt America, it will be to make America stronger,” he said. “If I let the press criticize everything I do—and they will, because they’re totally dishonest—I can’t get anything done. I want to get things done, so I have to curb the press. But we’ll still have some free press. We’ll keep the good ones. It won’t be entirely gone.” Trump promised to take a firmer hand on how cases get settled in the courts. “Right now our courts are a disaster,” he said. “We have cases backlogged. Why do we use juries as much as we do? Especially if the person is guilty. Let’s get these guilty criminals directly into jail and save he courts for when we really need them.” More.
Right-wing radio commentator Rush Limbaugh says he loves Glenn Beck, his fellow conservative talker, but his refusal to back Donald Trump for president is just a total bitch slap. “All the times I was there for him, and this is the thanks I get,” Limbaugh said of Beck on his popular radio show today. “When the lefties were calling him a Nazi, I stood up for him. When they were accusing him of being a deranged conspiracist, I had his back. Now when we’re so close to getting Hillary Clinton put into jail, he goes wobbly and says he can’t support Donald Trump because he’s not a true conservative. Oh, aren’t you just so high minded? Are your hemorrhoids bothering you or is that really a stick up your you-know-what?” More.