Okay, I am officially ashamed

Last evening, as I do systematically, like clockwork, about once every fifty to a hundred days, I swallowed my pride and surfed over to my political commentary alma mater, American Thinker, to see — as if I couldn’t already have guessed — how the most outrageously sold out of all the conservative media sell-outs was handling the latest slew of Trump failures. 

Within seconds — and that’s about how long I can usually let my eyes wander there before I start to feel like a priest who accidentally clicked onto a pornographic website — I saw this headline among the day’s top blog posts: “Trump’s Syria plan reveals a master strategist in the White House.”

Satisfied that there had been no reawakening of reason at the website owned and controlled by Thomas Lifson, a former Ivy League educator, I was ready to click away from this mind-porn in disgust, until my eyes accidentally noticed the teaser line under that title, at which point my disgust turned to genuine amazement as I did a double take worthy of Indiana Jones: “Trump once again exhibits strategic insight not seen in the White House since George Washington.”

Since George Washington. Yes, they published those words right there on the main page. About Donald Trump. The theory, you see — literally lifted directly from the pages of Conservative Treehouse, one of the original Alt-Right Trump fantasy zones that became infamous during the 2016 primaries for promoting every conspiracy inanity and fostering the mythology of Trump’s seventy-eight-dimensional chess strategic mind — is that Trump, wishing to draw Turkey into “negotiations,” used the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the resulting Turkish assault on northern Syria, as a brilliant scheme to get Turkey to the negotiating table. (I guess the death and panicked flight of thousands of Kurds, the desperate sacrifice of their autonomous region to Assad in exchange for protection, and the invasion of Russian troops, were all just pieces of this magnificent Trumpuzzle.)

Has there ever been a clearer example of what, a generation ago, people used to call “jumping the shark”? This blog post, and the website formerly known as one of the most serious conservative media outlets but which has since dared to turn itself into a cheap knock-off of Conservative Treehouse, are, to put it way too politely, a clown show.

I confess, and I mean this not rhetorically but sincerely, that upon reading that headline and teaser line, I felt truly ashamed. I was suddenly embarrassed to have ever posted my writing at American Thinker; ashamed of all the times I felt excited when my articles appeared at the top of the page for a given day; disturbed at the wave of pride I used to experience when I received indications that my status at that site was a little more honored than that of an ordinary “contributor,” but rather that many readers saw my work as one of a handful of “must reads” they looked forward to every time they visited AT.

Now that same website, where I first published many of the older pieces in the archives here in Limbo, has just posted an article that concludes with these words: 

Only Donald Trump saw it — just as only Donald Trump got North Korea to the table, forced the Chinese to play fair, and got the Mexicans to handle the immigrant caravans on our southern border. Trump once again exhibits strategic insight not seen in the White House since George Washington.

This is not one writer’s stupidity. This is not a controversial opinion meant to stoke discussion. This is the standard and unquestioned editorial position at American Thinker today. Donald Trump is not merely being defended on the grounds of his being less disastrous than many had feared. No, he is now the greatest president in American history, rivalled, if at all, only by Washington.

A good friend of mine occasionally observes, to my heartfelt agreement, that the comparisons between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler are not as outrageous as his defenders always insist — as long as we are clear that the similarity is not so much between the two leaders themselves as between their respective followers. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Trump’s hardcore millions — think about that, his millions — would have been on board just as early and just as fiercely for Hitler in another time. “Make Germany Great Again!” they would have been chanting. This is a frightening moment in world history.

I used to consider AT’s editors my friends. I used to cherish AT’s readers. These people are now long lost to reason, to the American republic, and to their own souls. I am ashamed of them, and of my long-time association with them. 

My only consolation, and it is a real one, is that today’s website calling itself American Thinker is not the website I knew, the one I used to write for, the one whose readers and writers I used to respect. That AT is gone, and I don’t see how it could ever come back from its present location.

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