Now Let Us Praise Bill Bennett - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Now Let Us Praise Bill Bennett

Over here at Hot Air, Larry O’Connor has thrown the spotlight on the always estimable William J. Bennett. The former Reagan Secretary of Education and Class A-Plus conservative had appeared on Fox News to say this of Donald Trump and his battle with the now increasingly eye-rolling Never Trumpers.

“He does not need to speak to the ‘Never Trumpers,’ some of my friends — or maybe former friends — who suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.”

Well, exactly.

And right on cue, the President of the United States objected. Said President David French…ohhh…wait. Actually David French was boosted by Never Trumpers but never ran. So he’s still at his National Review job headlining this:

Never Trump Isn’t ‘Preening’ — It’s Mourning

While Trump’s enablers further a con, his opponents weep for the damage he’s done.

Wrote Mr. French, in part:

Thanks in part to Bill Bennett, the knives have come out for Never Trump conservatives. It’s personal now. Gone is the always-fantastical claim that we would hand the election to Hillary, replaced with the notion that we’re simply exhibiting a “terrible case of moral superiority” and putting “our own vanity and taste above the interests of the country.”

Echoing Bennett, the Huffington Post interviewed a number of “establishment” figures who’ve thrown in with Trump, and their words about anti-Trump holdouts are scathing. It’s “slick moral preening,” said one anonymous critic. “These are mostly self-serving political hacks,” said another. We have a “desperate need to be accepted in the liberals’ putative morally superior universe.”

French then goes on to cite specifics about what he objects to about Trump. He talks about Trump’s list of Supreme Court nominees, his energy position, his economic plan that was crafted with longtime Reagan/Kempites Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore. Oops. Sorry. Actually French does none of this.

In fact, the French reply to Bill Bennett is nothing more than an article-length ad hominem. Trump is engaging in a “con,” Trump is “Like the snake-oil salesmen of years past…” who is speaking “lies and outright nonsense.” On and on this goes.

Meanwhile, over at Mediaite, Never Trumper John Ziegler picks up the ball. In an article titled “All Along I Thought Trump Wasn’t a Conservative/Republican, But Now I Realize I’m Not Ziegler,” he writes among other things:

In fact, a list of what “Republicans” now stand for has nothing at all to do with policy or principle, but rather is filled with beliefs about very specific concepts. For instance, being a member of the current GOP pretty much requires you to pledge allegiance to most, if not all, of the following views.”

The Ziegler list is long, and found at the link above. But let’s take a few of the things Trump is supposed to stand for:

That Hillary and Bill Clinton are at least an accessories to murder if not murderers, the DNC killed a member of its staff for leaking her emails, her use of which was the greatest national security breech in history, and Vince Foster killed himself because of Hillary nagging him (assuming he really wasn’t murdered).

Huh? I have never heard Donald Trump suggest that the Clintons “are at least an accessories (sic) to murder if not murderers.” One reference, yes, to the fact that there are conspiracy theories out there about Vince Foster. As noted in the Washington Post Trump said in an interview: “There are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder.” Well, golly Ned. That is historical fact — there are people out there who believe this in the fever swamps. Is this a platform in the Trump campaign? Of course not. It’s ridiculous. But Ziegler wants to misrepresent, so he does. And the DNC staffer murder? That would have been raised by Wikileaks founder Julian Essange. Again, nothing to do with the Trump campaign. But, hey. It sounds good.

Then Ziegler writes this as Trump-supporting gospel:

The Republican “establishment” is a bunch of impotent losers because they lost two elections to a media darling and can’t override vetoes without a super majority, but a guy who has never been truly leading a horrible candidate like Hillary in the polls is a sure winner.

Hello? It wasn’t because the GOP Establishment “lost two elections to a media darling.” The GOP Establishment’s losing candidates include not just Romney and McCain but Dole, Bush 41, Ford, Nixon in 1960, Dewey (twice), Willkie, Landon, and Hoover in 1932. Not to mention that Bush 43 won by the skin of his moderate teeth in 2000 and had a close re-election in 2004 in what should have been a landslide. The point, of course, is that nominating Establishment moderates has long been proved to be a ticket to certain defeat. And as to the Ziegler defense that Republicans in Congress “can’t override vetoes without a super majority,” it misses Ronald Reagan’s point entirely. It was Reagan, a sitting conservative president facing a Democratic House and Senate in 1987, who insisted on vetoing a pork-laden so-called “Clean Water Bill” — even though he knew he didn’t have the votes to sustain his veto. Reagan insisted one takes on losing battles like this to draw a bright line between Republicans and Democrats. Ziegler is, apparently, now suddenly no Reagan fan. Got it.

Ziegler goes on. “Having class or decency means nothing.”

Well, there goes support for Abe Lincoln. As I noted a while back in this space:

I confess, Trump’s “manners and grace” are not the best. When asked about Trump a number of friends and contemporaries replied that he told “dirty stories” no matter how “coarse” or “outright nasty.” There is an admitted sense of “disgust and humiliation” that he could be president. Nothing, it seems, according to one friend, keeps him from saying things of the “grosser sort.” One House member declared bluntly of Trump that the front-running billionaire was “vain, weak, puerile, hypocritical, without manners, without moral grace.”

Oh wait. Sorry. My mistake. These comments weren’t made about Donald Trump. They were made by friends, associates, and contemporaries of… Abraham Lincoln. Which means that the 16th president, the man who founded the Republican Party George Will says is in such mortal danger, the man whose memory dominates not merely the Washington skyline but the nation’s soul, has been so eternally honored in spite of having been found by his contemporaries to be — oh no! — a teller of “nasty stories” of “the grosser sort” and who was “vain, weak, puerile, hypocritical, without manners, without moral grace.”

Apparently Ziegler has now joined the ranks of Lincoln haters.

Look. All of this kind of thing from the Never Trumpers is exactly as Bill Bennett says it is: “… a terrible case of moral superiority” from people who have decided to “put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.”

David Horowitz has summed up the same situation in equally pointed terms:

I am a Jew who has never been to Israel and has never been a Zionist in the sense of believing that Jews can rid themselves of Jew hatred by having their own nation state. But half of world Jewry now lives in Israel, and the enemies whom Obama and Hillary have empowered — Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS, and Hamas — have openly sworn to exterminate the Jews. I am also an American (and an American first), whose country is threatened with destruction by the same enemies. To weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her, is a political miscalculation so great and a betrayal so profound as to not be easily forgiven.


God bless Bill Bennett — and David Horowitz — for standing tall.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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