Happy July, everyone. 162 days into the Trump Presidency and we're all still alive.
■ Proverbs 24:26 is a pretty simple simile:
26 An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.
Whoa! But, unless my memory is failing me, it's not exactly like a kiss on the lips.
■ I believe this headline from Michael Brendan Dougherty might be the best ever to appear at NRO: Trump Should Get Off His Phone and Start Lying to My Face.
Trump should get off his phone and start lying to my face. All our
faces. We, the American people, deserve it. I think.
Some eight years ago, when Democrats were trying to pass their major reform of the American health-care system, Barack Obama put down his golf clubs, got out there in front of me. There were “supercut” videos of the president repeating over and over again that those who liked their insurance could keep it. He got out there and said it to different audiences across the country and in national interviews. He lied like it was his job. In a way, it was. At least he did it.
Mr. Dougherty manages to be both funny and wise.
■ This is an NRO-heavy blog post. We also have @JonahNRO's weekly G-File, which also discusses Trump's woeful failings. He should walk away from Twitter, sure enough. But the tweets are "just a symptom" of the underlying issue:
The second thing is the more bitter pill. The president of the United States really just isn’t a very good person. There is no definition of good character that he can meet. You certainly can’t say he’s a man of good character when it comes to sexual behavior. His adulterous past is well-documented. You can’t say he models decency in the way he talks. He’s not honest (you can look it up). He brags about whining his way to winning. He boasts of double-crossing business partners. If you want to say he’s charitable, you should read up on how he used his “charities” as leverage or for publicity stunts. I think we can all agree he’s not humble or self-sacrificing. When asked what sacrifices he’s made, in the context of his spat with the Kahn family, he couldn’t name anything save for the fact that he worked very hard to get rich and that he employs people (presumably because it profits him to do so). I don’t know how anyone could absolve him of the charge of vanity or greed. He’s certainly not pious by any conventional definition.
I believe Jonah is irrefutable on this score.
Some people simply cannot handle the fact that Donald Trump was
One of those people is Donald Trump.
Trump has shown himself intellectually and emotionally incapable of making the transition from minor entertainment figure to major political figure. He is in the strange position of being a B-list celebrity who is also the most famous man in the world. His recent Twitter attack on Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe exemplifies that as much as it does the president’s other by-now-familiar pathologies, notably his strange psychological need to verbally abuse women in physical terms.
Also on-target. Apologies to any Trump fans, but the simple fact is that we have a president who is not acting close to presidential, and doesn't show any signs that he wants to.
■ Yet another Nancy MacLean link, this one from one of her Duke colleagues, Poli Sci Prof Michael C. Munger, who happens to be also a past president of the Public Choice Society. Public choice, of course, is one of the pivotal topics of MacLean's taxpayer-funded research into James M. Buchanan. It's long and detailed, but Munger leaves little doubt about devastating-with-praise bottom line: On the Origins and Goals of Public Choice
As I hope has been clear, as a book Democracy in Chains is well-written, and the research it contains is both interesting and in many cases illuminating. But as an actual history, as a reliable account of the centrality of the work of James Buchanan in a gigantic conspiracy designed to end democracy in America, it turns far away from its mark. It is the story of an alternative past that never actually happened.
I would like to be a fly on the wall at the next Duke faculty soirée.
■ At Reason, Matt Welch has perhaps the days least shocking headline: Libertarians Still Arguing About Gary Johnson’s 2016 Campaign. Don't libertarians (especially those in the Libertarian Party) argue about everything all the time? But anyway, Jack Hunter is quoted:
Johnson had his chance, the biggest chance the Libertarian Party
will likely ever have in our lifetimes, and his campaign did more to
diminish liberty than promote it. Johnson’s simple 2016 task was
two-fold: First, present libertarianism coherently, and hopefully,
attractively. Second, don’t
look like an idiot.
He failed on both.
Yes, the media was out to get him. The thing is: he should have known that, and prepared adequately.
And yes, I still voted for him. And would again.