Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson
shkarlson
50bookchallenge

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WILL THE CASE SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC?

Classicist Victor Hanson has been a regular on several Fox News programs, as well as an almost-daily contributor to National Review and several Pajamas Media platforms.  In 2019 he offered The Case for Trump, and I'm hustling Book Review No. 4 onto the internet before it might be completely overtaken by events.

What, exactly, is that case? It might appear, indirectly, back at page 274,  "One of the great ironies of our age is that we have somehow managed to become far more sanctimonious than previous generations -- and yet far more immoral by traditional standards as well.  We can obsess over an unartful presidential comment, but snore through the systematic destruction of the manufacturing basis of an entire state or ignore warlike violence on the streets of Chicago."  Yes, the wilding in Chicago was a thing long before rising up angry when an arrest went sideways became cause for taking reparations.

Or it might be that the process worshippers committed the kind of mistakes only very smart people could, see page 324.  "North Korea was rendered as an intractable problem, so complex, so layered with fourth- and fifth-level conterfactual speculations that such overthinking academics and nuanced ex-diplomats end up sounding like academics at acrimonious departmental meetings stymied over allotting $500 of travel reimbursements."  Been there, done that, never got the perfect bike shed out of it, and suspect that might be why the credentialed establishment types, even the squishy Republicans, get on so well with people holding graduate degrees.

The case, though, might be simpler.  Mr Trump had enough F.U. money to run for president, and being a "long needed comeuppance" (page 2) to the bipartisan establishment might have been good enough to win in 2016.  Whether instinctively dunking on the permanent government is the best response to a novel coronavirus will be answered by the voters next week.  Place your bets: many of the credentialed elite get to work from home, while many of the Militant Normals have to deal with ever-changing ukases from governors.

The most intriguing conclusion of the book might be that a single Trump term will still be a success in the terms of the voters who put him there.  In addition to all the appellate judicial positions filled, including the three Supreme Court vacancies, we read at page 101 that the "Heritage Foundation had concluded that the Trump administration, in little over a year of governance, had already implemented two-thirds of its 334 agenda items."  There's no citation, which is not a pardonable lapse in a scholar.  Thus I cannot judge whether the missing 111 or so items are the ones that would have required Congressional action, and it will be up to future historians and political analysts to determine whether Congress was hamstrung by the allegations of impropriety that started even before inauguration, or by rearguard Never Trump actions in the House and Senate in the first two years, or by a businessman not grasping that separation of powers is a thing, and the poobahs of Congress have armour-propre of their own.

It's now in the hands of voters.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: contemporary, current events, non-fiction, politics
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