Tuesday, March 21, 2017
In their rage at being dispossessed, the elite out themselves as being anti-democratic
They just cannot understand that there are many who disagree with them. They just cannot conceive that there are many of us who chortle with delight at Trump's daily attacks on the Leftist thought police. My son and I are both highly educated but in conversations with one-another we are something of a Trump admiration society -- JR
Has there ever been a tantrum as tinny and irritating as the one thrown by the chattering classes in response to Brexit and Donald Trump? It’s the mother of all meltdowns. The huff heard round the world. A hissy fit of historic proportions.
Children who don’t get their way normally foot-stomp and wail “I hate you” for three or four minutes before collapsing into a knackered heap. The liberal elite has been at it for nine months, ever since Brexit last June pricked the sealed, self-satisfied bubble they live in and reminded them that — brace yourself — there are people out there who think differently.
Brexit and Trump signal the demise of Western liberal civilisation, they sob. Fascism is staggering back to life, they cry. “Boy does this age remind me of the 1930s,” said British politician and historical illiterate Paddy Ashdown about Brexit.
Russia planted Trump in the White House, they yelp, like neo-McCarthyists convinced the Kremlin has commandeered Washington with an evil eye for steering it towards destruction.
Their arguments grow more unhinged every day. Their contempt for ordinary voters intensifies. Their toddler-like search for some evil thing to blame their political troubles on gathers pace.
What we’re witnessing is the rage of the entitled, the fury of a technocratic elite that had come to see itself as the rightful, most expert overseer of politics. They really cannot believe that everyday people, millions of the idiots, have had the brass neck to say: “We don’t like how you do politics. We’re going to try a different approach.”
As with all tantrum throwers, their first instinct is to deflect blame from themselves. “I didn’t do it!” is the cry of the child who did do it, and so it is with the melting old oligarchy.
Seemingly incapable of reasoned self-reflection, unwilling to accept that lots of people are simply rejecting their politics, the chattering class goes on the hunt for some naughty force on which to pin the blame.
It was Russian meddling that swung the election for Trump, they say. Trump is “Putin’s puppet”, apparently. A YouGov survey of Democratic voters in the US found that 50 per cent of them believe Russia “tampered” with vote counts. There’s no proof whatsoever for this. It’s an “election-day conspiracy theory”, in YouGov’s words.
Some even claim that we 17.4 million Brits who voted for Brexit were somehow got at by Putinite masterminds, though they never explain how. British Labour MP Ben Bradshaw says it’s “highly probable” Russia interfered in the EU referendum last June. He’s offered not one shred of evidence for this. But then, we’re no longer in the realm of reason — we’re in a world of tantrums.
As Masha Gessen argues in The New York Review of Books, the “unrelenting focus” on Russia of Western liberals has become a way of avoiding self-analysis. It’s become “a crutch for the American imagination”, a catch-all explanation for “how Trump could have happened to us”. So the problem isn’t that Hillary Clinton and her myriad media cheerleaders failed. It’s that powerful foreign forces meddled with American minds and warped the American political fabric.
The chattering-class tantrum is fuelled by an urge to dodge self-reckoning; by an absolute terror of asking what the old politics was getting wrong.
Some in the meltdown lobby are blaming “bots” — computer programs that pump out pro-Trump or pro-Brexit messages on social media. These sinister machines “changed the conversation”, says Britain’s The Observer newspaper. EU aficionado and one-time rationalist Richard Dawkins goes further, saying “sinister social media bots read minds and manipulate votes”, and apparently this “explains the mystery of Trump and Brexit”. They really are losing it. Another ingredient of temper tantrums is the use of heated language that’s way over the top to the situation at hand. The chattering class meltdown has plenty of this.
Witness the growing reliance on Nazi talk. Protesters against Trump wave placards of him wearing a Hitler moustache next to the words “we know how this ends”. The Archbishop of Canterbury says Brexit and Trump are part of the “fascist tradition of politics”. Prince Charles says the Brexit era brings to mind “the dark days of the 1930s”. Calm down, Charlie.
This casual marshalling of Nazi horrors to demonise Brexit and those Americans who voted for Trump is pretty outrageous. It drains the word Nazi of its historic meaning and turns it into an all-purpose insult, to be hurled at anyone we don’t like. Again, it’s tantrum-like when these people shout “Hitler!” — what they’re really saying is “I’m so angry I could cry”. They’ve turned the Holocaust into an exclamation mark to their fury — an unforgivable abuse of history.
And, of course, all tantrums involve lashing out, as this one does. The levels of antipathy aimed at voters, and at democracy itself, has been extraordinary.
We have failed to “keep the mob from the gates”, says Brexit-fearing columnist Matthew Parris. American writer Jason Brennan has become a favourite of liberal publications in the tantrum era because he wrote a book called Against Democracy and says “low-information white people” should not be trusted to make big political decisions.
American-British conservative Andrew Sullivan frets that the “passions of the mob” have been unleashed. A writer for The Observer says it’s time to smash the “taboo” against saying that ordinary people are often very stupid, and “there are times when their stupidity combines to produce gross, self-harming acts of national stupidity”.
Don’t worry, mate: that taboo has been well and truly demolished, if it ever existed. Post-Brexit and post-Trump, the chattering classes have not been shy in wondering if the masses are too daft for politics.
This is the frenzy of entitlement. The “third way”, pro-EU, Clinton-style technocratic classes that have dominated public life for a couple of decades came to think of themselves as the only people properly cut out for politics.
They insulated the business of politics from popular opinion. They made it all about expertise, not public engagement. Through bureaucratic institutions like the EU, and by giving greater decision-making powers to quangos and the judiciary, they sought to elevate politics far above us, the plebs.
They really convinced themselves that politics was for people like them, for the cool-headed and clever, not for us; not for the poor; not for the ill-educated or those driven by conviction rather than science.
And that’s why Brexit, Trump and other quakes have devastated them so, propelling them into a permanent state of tantrum: because they’d become so aloof and so arrogant, that they started believing no one except their set, their friends, their institutions, could be trusted with deciding the fate of nations.
And guess what? That’s why so many are voting against them. We’re witnessing a revolt of the demos against a political class that thought it could get away with governing from on high and treating people as problems to be fixed rather than as political citizens to be taken seriously. In a beautiful irony, the fact that their response to this revolt has been “Waaaah! How dare you?!” proves the revolt was long overdue.
Trump the conservative
The article below is from a Left-leaning source so I have cut out some expressions of opinion
The Republican agenda in Trump’s Washington is driven by hard-line conservative doctrine about starving the beast of government, slashing programs for the needy, and — upcoming on the agenda — tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that supposedly will help those farther down the food chain.
The hardest evidence so far of this shift from Trump’s campaign rhetoric to his governing reality is the two specific, sweeping proposals released in the last two weeks: the plan to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Trump’s budget outline for 2018.
Facing trouble winning hard-line conservative support to fulfill his promise campaign promises to replace the Affordable Care Act, the president leaned even harder to the right last week, offering to add to the GOP’s health care plan a requirement that able-bodied Medicaid recipients must work to qualify for coverage.
The plan already would dramatically cut subsidies for working-poor beneficiaries of the Obama program, with the heaviest burdens — thousands of dollars a year in additional expenses — falling on people from 50 to 64 years old.
It also would break a campaign promise that Trump made not to cut Medicaid: Instead, it slashes deeply into the program. In all, official estimates say 24 million people would lose insurance by 2026.
House Speaker Paul Ryan explicitly credited Trump for helping push long-held conservative policy objectives like the health care bill. “Did you see him yesterday in Detroit, in Tennessee?” Ryan asked reporters at his weekly press conference, detailing how the president is helping Republicans move the controversial health bill forward.
“The president has a connection with individuals in this country. He goes — no offense — but he goes around the media and connects with people specifically and individually,” Ryan said. “That helps us bridge gaps in Congress and get Republicans unified so we can deliver on our promises. And that is extremely constructive.”
Trump’s first months in office have been a relief to people like Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and president of Potomac Strategy Group, who had been skeptical of Trump during the campaign. Now, Mackowiak said, conservatives feel they have “a lot to be excited about.”
“You can credibly say this is the most conservative Cabinet at least since Reagan and perhaps even going further back than that,” he said. “I really have been encouraged in a lot of ways.”
“My sense is Trump wants to be successful,” Mackowiak said. “He’s less concerned about specifically what success means. He’s more concerned with the perception that he is successful and the best way for him to be successful this calendar year is to remain united with Republicans and to advance a conservative agenda.”
The conservative circle around Trump includes his budget director, Mulvaney — who was such a committed deficit hawk in Congress he even advocated for cuts to military spending, which is outside typical Republican thought — and Tom Price, the president’s new health secretary, a former Representative from Georgia who was one of the most vehement opponents of the Obama health law in Congress.
Nevertheless Trump’s team still finds itself defending the president to conservatives. On Friday morning, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway sold Trump’s right-leaning bona fides to a Washington audience. “I do think Donald Trump is a conservative,” she said, listing his budget and health care plan. “I think the National Review crowd should be very happy.”
The embrace of the party’s conservative flank has many Washington baffled. “It’s bizarre in a lot of ways,” Norman Ornstein, a political analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute and no fan of Trump’s, said of the president’s conservative agenda focus.
He highlighted what he sees as the most “bizarre element” to date of Trump’s shift in focus and priorities: the lack of an infrastructure plan.
Again and again, Trump has promised to invest in rebuilding the nation’s crumbling bridges and roads; Bannon embraced a trillion-dollar infrastructure program as key to his plans to build a new political coalition.
But the budget Trump unveiled makes deep infrastructure cuts, with the exception of putting aside money to build a wall on the Southern border. (Trump’s team says a building program is coming later in the year.)
But like many observers, both supporters and critics of Trump, Ornstein doesn’t think the conservative budget tilt is a conscious choice of the president’s. “My guess is that the budget is basically [White House budget director] Mick Mulvaney’s, and Bannon is happy because he wants to blow up the state and engage in disruption,” Ornstein said.
Trump has put conservatives in key positions, and their work product is showing.
“Trump is a New York Republican who has surrounded himself with conservatives,” said one Republican strategist with ties to the Trump White House.
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Posted by JR at 1:21 AM