Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Noonan Dissembles for Trump

This weekend's column seems to encapsulate many of Peggy Noonan's worst tendencies as a columnist. Her theme is that conservatives need to take Trump and his supporters seriously. However, she'll get little hearing there when she engages in imputing motives she surely knows are not accurate:

"Mr. Trump’s victory was an endorsement of Mr. Trump but also a rebuke to professional Republicans in Washington. It was a rebuke to comprehensive immigration plans that somehow, mysteriously, are never quite intended to stop illegal immigration; a rebuke to the kind of thinking that goes, “I know, we’ll pass laws that leave Americans without work, which means they’ll be deprived of the financial and spiritual benefits of honest labor, then we’ll cut their entitlements, because if we don’t our country will go broke.” The voters backed Mr. Trump’s stands on these issues and more."

Does Noonan really believe that people formulate policy with the intention of leaving Americans without work? Many people believe others polices deprive people of work. For instance, it's a staple of Republican rhetoric (even including Trump's) that Obama's health care legislation is "job killing" policy. That represents their assessment of the likely effects of Obama's policy. But do we really think that Obama came up with his health care plan with the intention of depriving Americans of jobs? Similarly, it is the assessment of Trump and other populists that allowing free trade with other countries will result in American jobs being "stolen", leaving Americans without work. They may or may not be right on this (I think they're mostly wrong) but the people who advocate free trade policies do not do so thinking they will leave Americans without work, they do so thinking that these policies will grow the American economy and thus provide work.

Noonen then plays the outsider to the last twenty years of Republican history, writing:
"I confess I have lost patience with many of those declaring they cannot in good conscience support [Trump], not because reasons of conscience are not crucial—they are, and if they apply they should be declared. But some making these declarations managed in good conscience, indeed with the highest degree of self-regard, to back the immigration proposals of George W. Bush that contributed so much to the crisis that produced Mr. Trump. They invented Sarah Palin. They managed to support the global attitudes and structures that left the working class jobless. They dreamed up the Iraq war.

Sometimes I think their consciences are really not so delicate."

We all remember how Noonan opposed the Iraq War. We all remember how she poured populist disdain upon proposals for immigration reform which were designed to easy our country's at times Kafka-esque immigration procedures and provide a path to legalization for illegal immigrants and their children, who have in some cases been living in the US and paying taxes for decades already. We all remember how Noonan mocked the idea of shifting Republican policy towards more openness to immigration in an effort to woo Hispanic voters.

Oh wait. Noonan is not noted for any of these things. Rather, this column represents an attempt to be above-it-all in relation to positions she has herself held and written about in the past. And for what? To support the integration into the party of a would be strongman figure who surely any mature political writer must realize would be a disaster for the party.

This present flirtation does Noonan as little credit as her brief crush on Obama during the 2008 election.


Anonymous said...

But too her credit, she did develop an acute case of Palin Derangement Syndrome back when. Too bad the immunity doesn't seem to have taken.
Thanks for pointing this out.

Christy from fountains of home said...

It feels like everyday there is someone else I held in respect who's willing to massage reality into supporting Trump. It's so depressing.