David Duke came into my life, sort of, two decades ago.
Working in 1995 with three academics, Glynn Custred, Tom Wood and Larry Arnn, I put on the California ballot an amendment to the state constitution, to prohibit race (and gender) preferences in state and local government hiring, contracting, and education. And with Ward Connerly as campaign chairman, we then passed Proposition 209 in November 1996.
At the height of that campaign, the liberals at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) used compulsory student funds to pay racist-thug David Duke to debate in favor of Proposition 209. In fact, Duke had nothing to do with our campaign, which was actually endorsed by many supporters of the real civil rights movement of the 1960s, not the opportunistic expropriators who see Serbia and Bosnia as tribal models for America. This CSUN sorcery was, and remains, a scam: a formula to defame the opponents of race preferences and quotas, racial polarization and Balkanization, bilingual education and multi-language ballots, etc. These issues concern those Americans of all backgrounds who want a society of goodness and virtue, not graft and vitriol.
The guilt-by-non-association scheme backfired, repulsing not only even the mainstream media, but the anti-209 debater, the late Joe Hicks, a legendary civil rights leader. The David Duke travesty jump-started Joe’s journey from a liberal to a libertarian. Joe went on to challenge the pathology of multiculturalism and diversity, and the entire racial spoils complex.
As for me, I learned how to deal with the David Dukes. Criticize anyone who gives them a platform and dignifies them. If the David Dukes preach their venom, condemn them promptly (make a long story, short), and then ignore them, forever. If they commit any crime, throw the book at them. Recall that: (a) We believe in free speech, even for Communists, fascists, Nazis, racists, radical Islamists and other collectivists*** of the Left; over the weekend, Congressman Dave Brat explained to the media how to define collectivism. (b) We repudiate their hatred and bigotry and would aggressively thwart and prosecute their violence. (c) We calibrate, lest we give these scumbags more than their fifteen minutes of fame.
[***Am I, like supposedly President Donald Trump, soft on the “alt-right” and “white nationalists”? As the author of a forthcoming book on American conservatism, I still do not know what the “alt-right” is. But you should only include them with white nationalists if you mean and know they are racists and bigots who want to use government to literally put down other races. But then don’t confuse such people with the sociological phenomenon of “angry white men” who did (and would again) fight Nazis, and would happily and pugnaciously disabuse David Duke of his physical well-being.]
Now, about Charlottesville, consider the matter of Trump Derangement Syndrome. For those suffering from TDS, no matter what President Trump had said in response to the violence and killing, he would deserve continued opprobrium. And there also are the TS, the Trump Sycophants who rejoice about everything that is Trump, as they glow in his perfection. He can do no wrong, and they defend even the indefensible. For them, there is a vast left-wing conspiracy to delegitimize and remove Trump (actually the case), but it should not be a treachery to which all discussion is subordinate.
Charlottesville presented Trump with yet another opportunity, and he blew it. Is President Trump merely insensitive, and obtuse to what the Nazis and the KKK represent? Probably not: his general condemnation was emphatic and sincere, though vague, needlessly so, as I shall explain shortly. He once again wandered off script and hinted at, or his dissonance could be interpreted as, moral equivalency between the race haters, who are universally awful, and the counter-protestors, admittedly not all nonviolent, political virgins of good will. This gratuitous parity was what Trump and others properly found so distasteful about Barack Obama and Company, their likening, for example, Israeli response to terrorists, with… terrorists.
Was Trump’s rhetorical disconnect because, once again, it was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and the orthodox Jared and Ivanka were unavailable? Maybe, but surely the (New Jersey) White House, especially under the president’s military-style new chief of staff John Kelly, could improvise in, well, in a crisis. That’s partly what a chief of staff does.
This is not hindsight, but White House 101. When “a Charlottesville” happens, the John Kelly quickly conference-calls the communications director. Fortunately, Scary-mooch-ee had been fired a week earlier, an outcome validated by Scary’s observation yesterday on ABC that Trump’s miscue was merely because Trump “likes doing the opposite of what the media expect him to do.” Great rationale, isn’t it? And now that Reince Priebus is gone, Scary then sought to make Steve Bannon the Fall Guy.
The John Kelly also would summon the chief presidential speechwriter STAT, or at least the on-call speechwriter traveling with the president. This is not rocket-science: how to take notice of what happened in Charlottesville without the headline that the Third Reich in Germany has become the Fourth Reich in America.
Who is more of a threat to America today — publicity-seeking neo-Nazis or radical Islamists moles? There was, there is, no conspiracy not to offend Trump’s “deplorables” who are presumed, without evidence, to be racists and Nazis — such haters are, in fact, a statistical anomaly, a nonentity. Such is the fiction of the Southern Poverty Law Center, founded more then a generation ago to support true civil rights, and now degraded to an apologist for radical Islam, which presents a clear and present danger to the West, to America. Can we forsake reality, that a statistically significant share of the world’s self-described Muslims bears little resemblance to the Muslims who in past generations have assimilated as patriotic Americans?
All this crisis mode on Saturday should not have been a difficult exercise. You begin the already scheduled news conference on reform of the Veterans Administration but abbreviate that announcement. Instead, you transition — “speaking of veterans”: our “greatest generation fought the fascists and the Nazis” and “I find myself repulsed by the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists who spew hatred and bigotry and violence. They make me sick. When I saw the Swastika in Charlottesville, I almost threw up. I can imagine how Americans feel who lost a loved one in World War II. What happened in Charlottesville today…” Etc. You do not, as President Trump did, preamble that a growing economy and low unemployment should presumably make us grateful so that we eschew racism. (Anyway, racism is now reduced to an unfortunately elusive term, nowadays, used promiscuously to describe even Hollywood liberals who do not provide enough Academy Awards to “people of color.”)
Yes, it is true: Donald Trump properly charged Barack Obama with failure to use the words “radical Islamist terrorism”; and that logic indeed should have compelled POTUS to say what Ivanka, after the Sabbath ended, tweeted: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.” Now, that’s a worthy tweet!
And stop all this nonsense: whether you agree with the policies of the Trump Administration or not, that Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are part of some “alt-right” anti-Semitic fringe. The enforcement of immigration laws is not racial bigotry against Mexicans; the travel ban is not a perverse attack on Muslims. Ponder this revelation, Maxine Waters: insensitivity, even racial insensitivity, is not an impeachable offense. And if it were, Maxine, you would be in deep trouble, because you are a racist.
In short, there may be incompetence in parts of the Trump Administration, including the context of how President Trump reacted to Charlottesville. But this is not malice. There is no plot to appease “white nationalists.” There was, quite simply, a screw-up, and not an excusable one. I could say, quite frankly, that President Trump should not need a speechwriter to emote, but perhaps he does. Then again, we’re in deep trouble when every talking head begins their critique of President Trump with “quite frankly.” That means they are not speaking frankly.
The constant refrain that Trump should disavow the “alt-right” is a rhetorical trap: when did you stop beating your wife? The anti-Semitism is not among Trump supporters, and certainly not in the White House. Look no further than the major universities or Black Lives Matter to find the Jew haters. If there is an epidemic of anti-Semitism, it is — while not entirely — mainly on the Left.
Among others, David Gergen took a cheap shot against Trump, with his suggestion that Trump, in effect, defended neo-Nazis. It is not pleasant to argue incompetence of the Trump team as a defense, but who seriously believes that Trump purports to defend neo-Nazis?
We must now talk about why we should not talk about David Duke. The mainstream media celebrate Duke. His ascendancy in America is as mythological as the Hollywood hype about rampant Islamophobia. The analogy is not the “Oh, people underestimated Hitler when he could have been stopped him, and…” David Duke and his paucity of malcontent followers are not a threat; he (and they) are largely a creation of the media. Duke, the media remind us, hates African Americans (as well as Jews, Zionists and Israel). But who has made more gains in the last generation, African-Americans or David Duke? The media keep David Duke alive. All this also is the MSM’s neat way of avoiding discussion of how they — CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR et al. are biased against Israel.
“That’s why we believed him,” Duke said this weekend of Trump. “It was white Americans who put him in the presidency.” Realty check: any hint that David Duke endorsed Trump would have cost Trump votes. Why did CSUN pay Duke to debate in favor of Proposition 209? Not to help pass it, but to defeat it!
CNN is on a crusade to depose Donald Trump. It informed its readers that the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer praised Trump’s comments on Saturday as “good” because: “There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all… Really, really good. God bless him.” This chest-thumping by rabble-rousers is news? What is the purpose of reporting this?
“The guy,” Eric Trump observed last year of David Duke, “does deserve a bullet.” Actually, Duke and his ilk, and the neo-Nazis, deserve far worse. A media blackout.