CONRAD BLACK JOINS THE MANHATTAN PACHYDERM CLUB CHORUS CALLING ON TRUMP TO CHANGE
Pens an amazingly false and disappointing characterization of Peggy “read my lips…” Noonan
Like many conservatives, I have admired Conrad Black, described by Rush Limbaugh as a “major media mogul”. In my opinion he is also a great conservative columnist. He is, of course, much more than either or both of those as can be found in his online biography.
And, thus, it was very disappointing to learn of and read Mr. Black’s latest column in the National Review. It first came to my attention by hearing of it on Rush’s show.
Since, I’ve read Black’s column as well as Peggy Noonan’s latest column in the Wall Street Journal, 9/14/19.
If one reads both, it will be obvious, I believe, why many are very disappointed in Conrad Black, understand completely why Limbaugh called him out on his show Friday, and finally, how utterly and amazingly off the mark Mr. Black is in his assessment of Ms. Noonan! To wit:
Trump’s Only Real Weakness Is His Style
If the president can become a bit more presidential, his reelection will be all but assured.
This is the time for President Trump to deprive his enemies of the last weapon that could be employed against him that could cause him any harm: the largely false, but still troublesome, issue of his personality and routine behavior. Other lines of attack have come to naught: Collusion with Russia, accusations of racism provoking outbursts of mass murder (by uttering “racially charged statements,” in the inadvertently Orwellian words of CNN’s most witless talking head, Don Lemon), the verbal recession confected by the world-renowned economists of CNN and MSNBC, all of it has collapsed. Illegal border crossings are in sharp decline as the wall is steadily extended, and Mexico cooperates in arresting the flow of illegal migrants to the United States, all within the framework of a new free-trade agreement and the steady relocation of manufacturing designed for the U.S. market from China to Mexico (and other countries). The only arguments left to the puling and squabbling Democrats are ever more implausible lurches to the left and the lingering sense that Donald Trump, though not the extremist or the incompetent that many had declaimed and predicted, is just not suitable to be president.
It does the president no favors to pretend that there are not still a significant number of people who have an uneasy feeling that although his administration is in policy terms quite successful, and the president has faithfully tried to carry out most of what he promised in the raucous 2016 election campaign, he is yet too bombastic and evidently egocentric to maintain the dignity of his great office. This is a widely held view, even among many who support the president for his policy successes and the well-conceived initiatives that are still in the balance, especially trade and other negotiations with China, and the attempted revival of nuclear non-proliferation in respect of Iran and North Korea.
The entirely admirable Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal and Fox News) seems to me illustrative of the best type of these people. She is effectively nonpartisan, extremely knowledgeable, and always very fair, and she wishes every U.S. president well and hopes that whoever is in that position does a good job for the country. Because she worked so closely with President Reagan, she may tend to measure presidents against him, and few in history can live up to his quality, as a man and as a leader. But there is nothing wrong with having high standards. It is clear from some of her columns that she finds the president’s bellicosity toward his opponents, and his tendency to be nasty and personal toward them, disappointing and unsuitable to a president.
In Trump’s defense, no president since Richard Nixon’s last days in office has been subjected to such malicious and widespread hostility as this one, and while most of the obloquy directed against Nixon was based on a minor felony compounded by some more-serious obstructions of consequent investigations, all imputations of possibly illegal wrongdoing by our current president have collapsed and been exposed as malicious or negligent abuse of power by sections of the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies. History is finally beginning to record that Richard Nixon was an outstanding president who was overwhelmed by the propagation of public hysteria over trivial matters in which there is no evidence that he did anything illegal. But there was an illegal source of the problem, and, as Nixon himself acknowledged, he badly mishandled the investigation.
Here is a transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s comments on his show about Mr. Black’s remarks: (excerpted to limit some of Rush’s obiter dicta)
And there is a new addition to this group of people, and I have to tell you that I was surprised to see it. On this program over the course of several months now I have referenced positively and quoted extensively from someone I believe to be a brilliant man. That would be Conrad Black. Conrad Black, a former media mogul himself. He’s Canadian. He is a member of the British House of Lords. He’s known officially as Lord Black of Crossharbour.
He used to own a bunch of Canadian newspapers and newspapers in Israel. And he writes columns for National Review and American Greatness, those magazines, slash, websites. And he is one of the most astute people in understanding who Donald Trump is and why Donald Trump won. You’d have to look far and wide to find anybody else as confident as Conrad Black is that Donald Trump is going to win and win big in 2020.
He exudes confidence all the time that Trump’s opposition is gonna get theirs, the silent coup members are gonna be indicted. He believes that all of these wrongdoers, all of the people that have misused the system to try to get Trump are gonna get theirs and they’re gonna get payback, and it’s gonna be criminal and indictments and it’s gonna happen very near the 2020 election. He’s been resolute in this confidence that Trump is not gonna lose his base, that Trump is going to continue to triumph.
His confidence is rooted in the substance of Trump’s policies that are succeeding on economics and on trade and dealing with illegal immigration. So I was shocked, and I must say I was shocked, to see that over at National Review Conrad Black has written that Trump needs to tone it down, that Trump needs to become more presidential.
Let me quote to you from the Conrad Black piece. “If the president can become a bit more presidential, his reelection will be all but assured.” Now, up to now, ah, there may be a couple of exceptions, but Conrad Black has not . . .noted Trump’s behavior as a problem for his reelection. He’s not thought that Trump was carrying unnecessary baggage. He’s mostly writes about how it is that Trump has been able to succeed. And he’s been shrewd and perceptive in explaining that.
But now he has backed off a little bit. “If the president can become a bit more presidential, his reelection will be all but assured.” Continuing, he writes, “This is the time for President Trump to deprive his enemies of the last weapon that could be employed against him that could cause him any harm: the largely false, but still troublesome, issue of his personality and routine behavior.
“It does the president no favors to pretend that there are not still a significant number of people who have an uneasy feeling that although his administration is in policy terms quite successful, and the president has faithfully tried to carry out most of what he promised –” It does him no favors to pretend that there are not people who believe he is still “too bombastic and evidently egocentric to maintain the dignity of his great office.”
Let me translate this. When he says it does the president no favors to pretend that there are still not — look, it doesn’t do anybody any good to deny that there are a lot of people out there who think Trump is still too bombastic and egocentric and is not maintaining the dignity of the office.
He said: “This is a widely held view, even among many who support the president for his policy successes and the well-conceived initiatives that are still in the balance, especially trade and other negotiations with China, and the attempted revival of nuclear non-proliferation in respect of Iran and North Korea.”
And then really floored me when he suggested that Peggy Noonan could maybe be brought back into the fold into supporting Trump if he would just be nicer. That Peggy doesn’t like the fighting, Peggy doesn’t like the confrontation, Peggy doesn’t like all this constant rabble-rousing, and if Trump would just dial down the bellicosity toward his opponents and his tendency to be nasty and personal, that maybe people like Peggy Noonan would come back.
I was stunned when I saw this. Conrad Black knows as well as anybody that this is the reason Trump got elected! Do any of you — maybe we should throw this open, ’cause I’ll bet you I know, but I’m not gonna pre-characterize what I think the response here I would get is. I’m sure there are some people, we’ve had some women call, “I love Trump, oh, my God. Oh, my God. Just stop tweeting, stop the tweets.” (bold face ours)
We had a whole segment on it or two earlier this week. But the idea that Trump would greatly enhance his already likely reelection by changing who he is, of all the people that I thought would join this chorus, Conrad Black I would not put on that list.
Now, I can imagine what’s happened here given the names of people he mentions in his piece. I’m sure he writes these universally, intriguingly, masterfully created pieces of support for Trump, and I’m sure some of these people in the salons of New York and the salons of Boston where the elites hang out, where the people who really make the country run, I’m sure they are getting hold of Conrad, “What are you doing? Do you not realize what an insult this guy is to people like us?” And Conrad’s fully capable of harboring these thoughts himself, too, but I can’t help but think there has been some outside influence.
So let me just put it to you this way. If Trump were to all of a sudden become more “presidential” in the way these people define it — if Trump were to stop tweeting, to stop being critical of the media, to stop calling them fake news, to start conducting real press conferences again like it’s always been done — would that make you feel better? Would that make you feel more enthused? Would that make you say, “All right! All right! I knew Trump could do it. I knew he could do it. I feel better.”
Is that how you would react to it? I’m just putting the thought out there. In other words (impression), “Donald Trump needs to become more like everybody else in Washington. Politicians are politicians. Presidents are presidents. There’s a code. There’s a standard. There is a behavior that is accepted, and there hasn’t been any exception to it except for Trump, and it’s time that he conformed to it! It’s time that Trump became the emblematic Washington politician.” A lot of people getting nervous about this out there.
A lot of people… You can’t find anybody… You can’t find anybody in the circle of elites any more pro-Donald Trump than Conrad Black. You would have to look long and hard to find anybody in that group of people who knows Donald Trump like Conrad Black knows Trump. Most of them have no idea about Trump. They live and breathe all of these preconceived notions. They haven’t taken the time — like the Democrats and the Democrats in the media haven’t taken the time — to really understand Trump or the people that support him and voted for him.
But Conrad has. Conrad knows, knows exactly why Trump is succeeding. Let me put this another way: Is it important? Does Trump not to win back people like Peggy Noonan and others in the conservative commentariat who have become Never Trumpers? Does Trump need to focus on the Never Trumpers and bring them back in the fold — and can he?*
Peggy Noonan’s latest column — note the title and lede to it.
Everyone Knows the Truth About Politics
The Democrats are scrambling, Trump is a screwball and the sane center is getting ignored.
*”The entirely admirable Peggy Noonan… illustrative of the best type of these people*. Not to repeat what we have often described as the Peggy Noonan so accurately reflected in her columns, we do wish to note that we believe that Black could not be further off in his characterization of “Miss Peggy”. As we refer to her, she is perhaps most famous as a speechwriter for the G H W Bush campaign and as the one who “helped” Bush’s reelection effort so greatly (not) by giving him the line, “Read my lips…no new taxes!”
Peggy has written very little even part-way favorable about a GOP president since, including GHW’s son, GW. We’ve always thought that Peggy had always convinced herself that she played a much bigger role in Ronald Reagan’s administration than she actually did. Consequently she seemed to us to be quite resentful of GW Bush when he failed to bring her into his administration, obviously not recognizing her ‘gargantuan’ talents. “Entirely admirable”? We don’t think so. DLH
One can wonder that perhaps Lord Black had not read Miss Peggy’s latest prior to finalizing his own. Reading hers one sees only the “woke” presumptiveness of someone who has no accurate idea of what attracted people to Trump, keeps them loyal and is engendering more to the fold. Noonan’s field of contacts who she interprets for us as “everyone” and the “sane center” does not extend beyond a few blocks from her New York apartment. The whole column reads like a reference to “everyone who is anyone” snideness and utter contempt for Trump.
Read the column if you subscribe or can get by the pay wall, we may find the stomach to deal more with what Ms Noonan thinks she knows about what everyone knows and Conrad Black’s paean to her ilk. R Mall