Norman Podhoretz on the spiritual war for America

When I first starting writing at Power Line and for many years thereafter, the two columnists whose opinions I most wanted to read were Charles Krauthammer and Norman Podhoretz. I was delighted eventually to learn that both were regular readers of Power Line.

Krauthammer is no longer with us, and Norman is 90 years old and not writing regularly, as far as I know. However, he gave Barton Swaim of the Wall Street Journal an interview. Swaim’s write-up is here.

Norman is still a vigorous defender of America. He believes more than ever that the fundamental divide in American politics, and indeed the clash that amounts to a spiritual war, is between those who believe America is a force for good in the world — he affectionately calls them “deplorables” — and those who believe America is bad — the “intelligentsia.”

That, by the way, is the way John Hinderaker and I described the fundamental divide when we discussed American politics on a drive from the Minneapolis airport to his hometown in South Dakota in the Spring of 1969. At that time, we sided with the intelligentsia. Now we side with the deplorables.

I have wondered what Norman thinks of Donald Trump. He told Swaim he started out being “anti-anti-Trump,” which is what I thought. Now, he’s pro-Trump, which doesn’t surprise me.

I wonder if Krauthammer would share either stance. Possibly the first, though I doubt it. Almost certainly not the second.

Norman did tell Swaim that “maybe Trump’s outlived his usefulness, I don’t know.” I believe Trump has. It’s time to thank him for his service and move on to a standard bearer who is less delusional and less vindictive, and who has broader appeal.

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