August 19, 2017


President Jabberwock and the Jewish Right (Bret Stephens,  AUG. 18, 2017, NY Times)

Here was the argument of many of Trump's Jewish supporters: He'd rip up the awful Iran deal. He wasn't afraid to call out the Islamofascists by name. He "got" Israel and wasn't going to abide the State Department's failed pieties about the peace process or the location of the United States Embassy. He'd rebuild the military and restore the respect America had lost under Barack Obama. He'd surround himself with good advisers. And his unpredictability was an asset in the face of our adversaries. [...]

 The Jewish conservative's case against Trump was far more simple: Breathe in deeply with your nose and ... smell.

You could smell it in the shyster methods by which Trump built his business: the unpaid bills; the endless lawsuits; the deceitful advertising; the shady business partners.

You could smell it in the sort of people drawn, like flies to sewage, to Trump's candidacy: David Duke, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Richard Spencer, Pat Buchanan and Stephen Bannon, lately of the White House.

You could smell it in the tweets: an approving citation of a Benito Mussolini quote; an image of Hillary Clinton alongside a six-pointed star and a pile of cash.

You could smell it in the denunciations of "globalism" and "international banks" and the "enemy of the American people" news media.

You could smell it in the Muslim ban and the border wall and the trade protectionism and the calls to revoke birthright citizenship and the resurrection of "America First" as an organizing political slogan -- a politics of exclusion that has never served Jews well even when we were suffered to be included.

Above all, you could smell it in Trump's indifference to truth. Hillary Clinton may have been a "congenital liar," as William Safire famously put it. But Trump is something else: a Jabberwock president, nonsensical, menacing and beyond reason.

All this smelliness explains why nothing that's happened in Trump's tenure, culminating in Tuesday's embrace of the "very fine people" who turned up for the neo-Nazi torchlight rally, comes as a surprise.

What if all they could smell was his Islamophobia?  It's easy to lose sight of the way that each immigrant group gets so Americanized that they come to think that hating immigrants only applies to the next wave. They end up playing footsie with people who hate them too.

Posted by at August 19, 2017 7:51 AM