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Mark Steyn

Topical Take

A New Dawn, A New Don

Obama? I've got nothing to add to what I've said these last eight years. But I'll reprise one of my favorite details from his largely fictitious biography, from page 141 of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn:

Courtesy of David Maraniss' new book, we now know that yet another key prop of Barack Obama's identity is false: His Kenyan grandfather was not brutally tortured or even non-brutally detained by his British colonial masters. The composite gram'pa joins an ever-swelling cast of characters from Barack's "memoir" who, to put it discreetly, differ somewhat in reality from their bit parts in the grand Obama narrative. The best friend at school portrayed in Obama's autobiography as "a symbol of young blackness" was, in fact, half Japanese, and not a close friend. The white girlfriend he took to an off-Broadway play that prompted an angry post-show exchange about race never saw the play, dated Obama in an entirely different time zone, and had no such world-historically significant conversation with him. His Indonesian step-grandfather, supposedly killed by Dutch soldiers during his people's valiant struggle against colonialism, met his actual demise when he "fell off a chair at his home while trying to hang drapes."

But ask not for whom the drapes hang, they hang for thee: today it's curtains for Barack Obama, and curtain up for Donald Trump.

Oddly enough, The Great Falls Tribune chooses to mark the occasion with one final, laborious "fact-check" of Obama "myths" and rather prissily includes one of my readers' jokes:

And Obama didn't tell his supporters that "we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world" and then ask them to "join with me as we try to change it." That quote, too, was intended as a joke, according to former National Review contributor Mark Steyn, who said it was sent to him by a reader as "an all-purpose stump speech for the 2008 campaign."

The Steyn column the Great Falls guys link to is this one from nine years ago:

A few months back, just after the New Hampshire primary, a Canadian reader of mine — John Gross of Quebec — sent me an all-purpose stump speech for the 2008 campaign: "My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it."

I thought this was so cute, I posted it on "The Corner." Whereupon one of those Internetty-type things happened, and three links and a Google search later the line was being attributed not to my correspondent but to Senator Obama, and a few weeks after that I started getting emails from reporters from Florida to Oregon asking if I could recall at which campaign stop the senator in fact uttered these words. And I'd patiently write back and explain that they're John Gross's words, and that not even Barack would be dumb enough to say such a thing in public. Yet last week his demand in his victory speech that we "come together to remake this great nation" came awful close.

That's true. Obama accepting the Democrat nomination:

This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation...

As I said at the time: If it's so "great", why do we have to "remake" it? He basically lifted John Gross' Canuck joke and reworded it with a straight face. Still, one appreciates the touchiness of The Great Falls Tribune about this line. As I observed two years ago:

If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

Especially after this hectic post-election finale, culminating in the springing from gaol of Chelsea Manning, I think I'll stand on that: my epitaph for the Obama years.

~As for who would succeed the 44th President, it was perfectly obvious to me three years ago that Americans wanted something more than just another round of Bush vs Clinton:

There are over 300 million people in this country, and, granted that 57 per cent or whatever it's up to by now are fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community, what is it about the Bush family that makes them so indispensable to the Republic as to supply three presidential candidates within a quarter-century?

Well, for one thing, all the donors keep throwing bazillions of dollars at them. As The Washington Post reported:

Fluent in Spanish, Bush has credibility within the Hispanic community that could help broaden his coalition. He also has the gravitas many Republicans say is required to compete with former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democrats' leading potential contender...

"He's the most desired candidate out there," said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. "Everybody that I know is excited about it."

Not me:

The guys who picked last season's loser are already excited about next season's loser. How exciting is that?

Eighteen months ago, on July 10th 2015, or three weeks after Donald Trump jumped into the race against the unstoppable Jeb juggernaut, I wrote:

Trump is supposed to be the narcissist blowhard celebrity candidate: He's a guy famous for erecting aesthetically revolting buildings with his "brand" plastered all over them, for arm-candy brides, for beauty contests and reality shows. The other fellows are sober, serious senators and governors.

And yet Trump is the only one who's introduced an issue into this otherwise torpid campaign - and the most important issue of all, I would argue, in that ultimately it's one of national survival. And so the same media that dismiss Trump as an empty reality-show vanity candidate are now denouncing him for bringing up the only real policy question in the race so far... Like other philosophically erratic politicians from Denmark to Greece, has tapped into a very basic strain of cultural conservatism: the question of how far First World peoples are willing to go in order to extinguish their futures on the altar of "diversity".

As Ann Coulter's new book Adios, America! lays out in remorseless detail, Kate Steinle is dead because the entire Democratic Party, two-thirds of the Republican Party and 100 per cent of the diseased federal-state-municipal bureaucracy prioritizes myths over reality. Yes, it's distressing to persons of taste and discrimination that the only person willing to address that reality is Donald Trump. But that's because he's not the reality-show freak here. The fake-o lame-o reality freakshow is the political pseudo-campaign being waged within the restraints demanded by the media and Macy's. So, if Donald Trump is the only guy willing to bust beyond those bounds, we owe him a debt of gratitude. If, as Karl Rove proposes, other candidates are able to talk about the subject in a more "inclusive" way, so be it. But, if "inclusive" is code for not addressing it at all, nuts to that.

For Jeb, "inclusive" was indeed code for not addressing it at all. His "bundlers" might as well have thrown their dough into the Potomac and waved it goodbye as it floated out to sea.

Six months later I went to see Trump live on stage in Bernie's fiefdom of Burlington, Vermont:

MESSAGE DISCIPLINE: Karl Rove says that campaigning is all about the efficient use of the dwindling amount of time you have this close to Iowa and New Hampshire. So doing ten minutes of knee-slappers on Martin O'Malley is ten minutes you could have used to talk about Social Security reform that you'll never get back.

Maybe Rove is right. But as a practical matter it's led to the stilted robotic artificiality of the eternally on-message candidate - which is one of the things that normal people hate about politics. And Trump's messages are so clear that he doesn't have to "stay on" them. People get them instantly: On Thursday he did a little bit of audience participation. "Who's going to pay for the wall?" And everyone yelled back, "Mexico!" He may appear to be totally undisciplined, yet everyone's got the message.

Again, it seemed obvious that night that Trump had thrown out the old playbook and that what he'd replaced it with was working for him far more effectively than the old rules worked for Romney, or McCain, or Dole.

But what do I know? For a spectacular Interstate pile-up of conventional wisdom, do read Ann Coulter's splendid column this week on Matthew Dowd, former Bush strategist and the Chumpy McArsepants in residence at ABC, who reliably got everything wrong, day in, day out, for the entire campaign season: If Dowd issued a severe winter storm warning, you could safely stroll down to town in your speedos. Yet there he is, apparently a permanent fixture on ABC's "Powerhouse Roundtable".

Donald Trump took out America's two most powerful political dynasties of the last 30 years: the Bushes and the Clintons. If you didn't see that coming, there's no reason anyone should pay any heed to anything you say about Trump from now on.

~On this weekend's Mark Steyn Show, we'll look back at the administrations of President Jordan Lyman, President Bill Mitchell and President Andrew Shepherd. And Andrew Klavan swings by the studio to chew over how the culture will treat President Trump. Plus Mark's favorite Leonard Cohen song, live on the Steyn stage. More details here.

from Steyn on America, January 19, 2017

 

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