Observations from Far Above the Stench

I have said all that I have to say about the Trump era, its effects on civil society, its roots in the Republican Party establishment, and its poisoning of the lost, desperate soul of Middle America. In fact, I said most of what really needed to be said about this era five years ago, and tied up the loose ends four years ago. I suppose that a hundred years from now, some intrepid amateur historian might dredge up my essays from 2016 and early 2017 and collect them in a book, if there are still books then.

Everything I said would happen has happened. Everything I said Trump would be, he has been. Everything I lamented about the shift of the so-called “grassroots conservative movement” in America toward its own darkest angels — the evils born of despair, moral fatigue, and a fatal lack of educational guidance and philosophy — has played itself out to degrees of shamefulness that fill me with revulsion and nausea; some of that revulsion, sadly, triggered by men I once regarded as friends and comrades in arms.

Soon, it will be time to make a full accounting of all the horrible harm Trump, his enablers, and his tens of millions of lost sheep have done to their country, the dangerous precedents they have set, and the easy target they have made of constitutionalism by reducing it to the optics of crackpot hatred.

Today, however, on the premise that a painful truth is better than a comforting falsehood, I have decided to look at a few of the bright spots of the Trump presidency. No, I certainly do not mean the Trump cult talking points — supreme court, Paris climate accord, Jerusalem, six new inches of wall!, blah, blah, blah. I am talking about the real long-term benefits of the Trump catastrophe, the sort of nuggets of wisdom or clarity that often arise in the wake of a great conflagration. Let us sift through the scorched earth in search of a few of those nuggets now, shall we?

Ted Cruz, who once seemed relatively promising as a constitutional conservative (by politician standards, of course), has been thoroughly exposed as, among other things, a coward, a bootlicker, a publicity hound, a hypocrite, a man of no self-respect and even less shame. A man who (typically) joined Josh Hawley’s electoral college certification stunt at the last minute to steal the “glory” for himself, and who (like Hawley) had timed his fundraising mail for the exact moment of the senate vote — which, sweetly, turned out to be the exact moment the mob he had helped to foment was breaking doors at the U.S. Capitol. A man who has in fact glommed on to every one of these last-minute ploys to serve Trump’s cult, all for the sake of fundraising and endearing himself to the cult for 2024. A slime ball — and I say that only as a weak synopsis of all the other things I would like to say about him, but which would breach Limbo’s unwritten protocols about gentlemanly language.

The “conservative media” — from its leading voices to its fringe dwellers, with exceptions found only closer to that fringe, and probably countable on one hand — is a complete fraud. Nothing but cynical profiteering on the backs of other people’s desperation. Pimps and prostitutes, the whole ugly pack of them. And if “them” strikes you as mealy-mouthed, then let me specify, representatively but far from exhaustively: Fox News (all of it), Mark Levin (who personally cited several of my own essays in years gone by), Glenn Beck (who has read my writing on air), Ben Shapiro and his entire Daily Wire company, Dennis Prager (whose radio show I once appeared on), American Thinker (where I was a top-ranked writer for several years — how’s that for full disclosure?), Right Scoop, Red State, PJ Media, American Spectator. Just a sample. Fakes, careerist hacks, cynical abusers of other men’s lives and hopes.

And please do not waste your time telling me that the “mainstream media” is cynical and fraudulent too, as if I hadn’t noticed that. Not only is that self-evident, but it is also why the duplicity and deviousness of the alleged conservative alternative is so despicable. Talk about kicking a man when he is down! What these profiteers have done to the dying hopes of millions of American conservatives who were praying for some honest fellow-feeling or principled guidance…again, I run up against the Limbo limits on free speech.

Benjamin Netanyahu, a hero of the conservative media (see above) for many years, turned out to be as fake as they are. He is a poseur and a pathetic flatterer who will say anything and suck up to anyone to gain his own ends. Hence his popularity among the conservative media, who see themselves reflected in his schtick — just as they love Trump for being a blowhard and echo chamber rabble-rouser. Will Bibi now un-name “Trumpland,” or whatever he was promising to rename some Israeli town in the Orange Moron’s honor?

Mitch McConnell’s mission is complete: The constitutional conservative movement in America is now decimated, shamed, and functionally worthless — “crushed,” to use the word with which McConnell made his Trump-funded vow in 2014.

The Tea Party, which used to boast of being the protest movement that would leave a public park cleaner than it was when they arrived, will now be identified forever, and not entirely unfairly, with storming the U.S. Capitol building in defense of an obvious pack of lies, with beating a police officer to death, with adhering to a cult of personality worshipping the dumbest, most infamous, and most obvious opportunist in American history, and with vehemently justifying such idiotic and anti-American actions and attitudes with the most hatefully irrational invective this side of a Marxist student rally all over the internet for five years.

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