The Islamist terror attack that killed eight in Manhattan yesterday fills me with impotent rage, but it also got me thinking about President Trump and his national security team. With them, there will be no hiding or downplaying the underlying reality of the attack. We will not be solemnly instructed to gainsay the truth that stares us in the face.
Bill Bennett’s most recent installment of his podcast show includes a discussion with Yale’s Professor David Gelernter in part addressing the subject of Trump. There is no one I respect and admire more than Professor Gelernter. He is a deeply learned and decent man. I wanted to hear what he had to say.
Bill’s conversation with Professor Gelernter begins with the subject of Trump. Bill asked him, what do they think of Trump at Yale? “They hate his guts,” Professor Gelernter responded.
Listening to the podcast earlier this week, I found Professor Gelernter expressing my thoughts in a form I haven’t quite been able to articulate. Some readers may find Professor Gelernter’s comments of interest. He elaborated (the transcription is mine and omits Bill’s comments, which also mirror my own thoughts):
People on the left find Trump not merely objectionable on principle but they hate him as a person. They find him grating and annoying and he drives them crazy. I understand that. He often drives me crazy. Obama had the same properties….He was such a pain. I think there is nothing worse than a combination of patronizing arrogance and insincerity. Whenever he opened his mouth, your stomach turned over. It was painful to hear him talk. Now I understand that people — my friends on the left — have the same reaction to Trump, but the remarkable thing is what this says about the way the country swings and why did we elect Trump? The left and academia [are] too busy hating him to ask why their countrymen were
The American people know perfectly well what is due to the office of the presidency. I think Trump is undignified in a lot of ways. I think Trump falls short in a lot of ways and I think that is absolutely as clear to a farmer in Alabama or a cowboy in Wyoming as it is to the Washington Post.
People were driven to elect Trump not because they deemed him a perfect candidate to be president but because they were angry, they were incensed, they couldn’t stand where the country was going and the analysis that should follow upon that isn’t there. I mean, it goes on in conservative circles but it ought to be the number one topic in the study of American government, in the study of American history all over the world, and it’s not, of course. Needless to say.
I remain absolutely a supporter and a sympathizer of Trump. And you know, no president checks every box. I think his virtues far outweigh his faults. I do wish he would take the office and the history of the office more seriously than he does…
Just the fact of getting elected was an extraordinary accomplishment. I mean, you could say it was the most culturally democratic moment in the history of the world. Never before has a great power spurned everything the elite — the intellectual and the social elite — knows, left and right, about who should be running the country. Never before has a great power said to hell with that. The dignity of the country is important and has a lot to do with the power of the country, but this is an emergency and we’re going to make use of the best candidate who’s out there. And the implications are enormous. The left believes that, since it refuses to report on the right, the right doesn’t really exist, that it’s just a bunch of uncollected morons with no serious thought.
We all know this. We’ve reached a point where the left’s blindness is aiding the collapse of the intellectual structure built up since the rise of Marxism….The left is too arrogant, too complacent, too self-satisfied to notice it or do anything about it — I hope.
The podcast is posted online in all the usual formats. I have embedded the Stitcher version below. It is also posted here. Bill’s conversation with Professor Gelernter begins at about 41:00.
Quotable quote: “I’m stuck in the middle of lunaticsville.”