The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism

Do go on, Jonah Goldberg:

So it sounds like Trump was rude, bullying and tacky to the former Miss Universe about her need to lose weight. That doesn’t shock me and I doubt it shocks anybody else. So could he have been nicer about it? Absolutely. But this notion that a beauty pageant winner’s physical appearance isn’t relevant to the organization just strikes me as bizarre. Alicia Machado is not a plausible stand in for all women, nor a perfect poster girl for decrying the scourge of “fat shaming.” Newt Gingrich is right when he says, “you’re not supposed to gain 60 pounds during the year that you’re Miss Universe.”

The son of Lucianne Goldberg, the publisher who encouraged Linda Tripp to record her chats with Monica Lewinsky, indulges in his usual rhetorical flimflam: rhetorical question followed by intensifier that as my students well know is less intense than he thinks. The point isn’t that Donald Trump was a boor, a lout, and dweller in locker rooms of an all too familiar type; for Goldberg it’s that Trump wasn’t nicer. The casualness and lack of self-consciousness with which Goldberg can write, “Alicia Machado is not a plausible stand in for all women” is precisely why “fat shaming” is a “scourge” and why we’re talking about it. To read the rest, Google. I’m not linking to NRO.

Elsewhere, peeking out from his cirrus clouds of melancholy David Brooks pecks sentences that form themselves into words.

This presidential election is a contest between the oldest of the baby boomers.

587 words to go.

Yet Donald Trump, 70, and Hillary Clinton, 68, represent two very different decades in the formation of that generation. Donald Trump became famous as a classic 1980s type, while Hillary Clinton first attained public notice as a classic 1960s type.

It’s interesting, and sad, to see how the promise of those two decades has aged.

Here is what we call in the business the nut graf, so-called because this paragraph was written by a nut.

Trump opened Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in November 1983. Go-go capitalism had a lot of élan back then. Capitalism had washed away the stagnation of the 1970s. It was defeating the Soviet Union. During the Reagan years, writers celebrated capitalism not only as a wealth-generating engine but also as a moral system, a way to arouse hard work, creativity and trust.

Of course, Trump was always a scuzzy version of the capitalist type. Somehow I got on the guest list of a few of the ’80s-era parties he hosted in the lobby of his skyscraper and would go for sociological entertainment

I would imagine that “somehow” Brooks got on this list because William F. Buckley, Jr. and the other “writers” who gave him his start spent eight years publishing encomia to Ronald Reagan’s feet. “Of course” Trump was a vulgarian, unlike Buckley himself, advocate of tattooing HIV victims and apartheid enthusiast.

Because Brooks dwells in the green rooms of NPR and PBS he pledges his troth to On the Other Hand. After praising the “poetic, aspirational” virtues of Hillary Clinton’s 1969 Wellesley commencement address, he writes:

Clinton can be a devastatingly good counterpuncher, but she lacks the human touch when talking about the nation’s problems, and fails to make an emotional connection.

“She is a woman, after all.”

When asked why she wants to be president or for any positive vision, she devolves into a list of programs. And it is never enough just to list three programs in an answer; she has to pile in an arid hodgepodge of eight or nine. This is pure interest-group liberalism — buying votes with federal money — not an inspiring image of the common good.

Federal programs and collaborations with business are not an inspiring image of the common good; they lack the “élan” of Brooks’ definition of capitalism.

There is no uplift in this race. There is an entire absence, in both campaigns, of any effort to appeal to the higher angels of our nature.


Yes, the world is watching what we do.
Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose.
So let’s be stronger together.
Looking to the future with courage and confidence.
Building a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country.
When we do, America will be greater than ever.
Thank you and may God bless the United States of America!

Platitudes and excerpts from self-help books, but I can’t accuse them of lacking uplift.

Ironically, one of the tasks for those who succeed the baby boomers is to restore idealism.

If a reader can parse this sentence, contact my lawyer.

At some point there will have to be a new vocabulary and a restored anthropology, emphasizing love, friendship, faithfulness, solidarity and neighborliness that pushes people toward connection rather than distrus

I appeals to the same reader for help with “restored anthropology.” As for solidarity, friendship, and all the rest, Brooks can buy an example of one candidate’s “vocabulary” for five bucks. Tax free, I think. Just like the go-go eighties would have liked it!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism

  1. markwrite57 says:

    hilarious! “a way to arouse hard work…” interesting verb choice there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s