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HORIST: Fighting for the soul of America

HORIST:  Fighting for the soul of America

There is universal agreement that Donald Trump is not a typical President of the United States – and that is an understatement.  His presidency and the reaction to his presidency has, as former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said on Morning Joe, pushed the nation into the far corners of political dialogue. He blamed both President Trump and the left, including – you ready for this? – the media for the divisiveness. 

Reporting on his just completed visits to states around the country, Brokaw said the New York/DC axis (his word) was not hearing the voices of America.  This was a remarkable statement to be heard on MSNBC by a generally liberal broadcaster.  As might be expected, it appeared to have been less than well received by Mika Brzezinski.

Brokaw’s comments, however, are central to the state of American political belief and discourse in the era of Trump.  The common ground of consensus and compromise has vanished.  We have two sides that not only do not agree with each other, they seem to not even understand each other.  Raging partisan passion trumps intellectual analysis. The polarized extremes cannot even accept provable facts that do not support their strident partisan perspectives and biased narratives.  

The most futile discussions revolve around who started it all.  Like any good barroom fight, that cannot be proven and attempts to do so can only result in unproductive biased bickering.  It was Trump. It was Obama.  It was the Democrats.  It was the far left … the far right.  It was the media.  That debate is so useless that we may as well argue that it was those mythical mystical ancient aliens.

Stepping back, we need to understand what led to the Trump election and this political confrontation.  He was elected not so much on his own personal attributes (although he may differ), but rather was thrust into office by a political tsunami against all things associated with an entrenched left-wing establishment – excessive regulation, high taxes, failed foreign policy, loss of American Exceptionalism and political correctness.  The voters on the right intended this to be a transformational election.  On the left, it was to be business as usual.  At the moment, both sides are frustrated by the inability of their respective leaders to deliver. 

For more than a decade, 70 percent of American disapproved of the direction of national leadership. Democrats and the left mistakenly believed it was against Republicans in general and conservatives specifically.  They believed it despite dramatic election loses across the nation for 8 years – spurred on in that false belief by a national media that reported what the left wanted to hear rather then what they needed to know.

Early in the 2016 campaign, I predicted that the GOP would take the White House.  There was no reason for the voters to abandon their established repudiation of progressive politics.  It can be well argued that the will of the people was so strong that even the unpopular Trump could not alter its course.  His pugnacious personality is more likely to have prevented a clear win in the popular vote by the GOP – another example of his propensity to undermine his own best interests.  

What was shaping up in Washington was a political Armageddon between the left and right, the establishment and antiestablishment, the denizens of the swamp and those coming to drain it.  On one side was Trump, most of the right wing of the Republican Party (and no few Democrat voters reminiscent of the Reagan Democrats in the 1980s) and the majority grassroots sentiment.  On the other side was the progressive wing controlling the Democratic Party, the far left cultural intelligentsia, the bipartisan political establishment (including the entrenched bureaucracy) and what became incorrectly labeled as the mainstream media.   The populist movement was a natural outcome of this confrontation between the populace and the power structure.

With the victory of the insurgents, it should come as no surprise that the resulting political atmosphere would be highly volatile.  There was no reason to expect that the entrenched establishment would simply accept the election results and cede power, profits and prestige to those they consider their inferiors – people who have not come to play the game, but to change the rules.

In selecting Trump as the champion of the anti-establishment forces, we might have done better – but we had no choice.  Once he won the nomination thanks to an unusually large field of candidates, it became a binary choice.  Something the left has never understood is that it has never been about Trump’s controversial and offensive personality.  When the Democrats and their allies in the media advanced that as their campaign strategy, they failed miserably – a failure that, to this day, they are incapable of comprehending or accepting.

This is an important point because this bifocal view of Trump – separating personality from policies – is at the foundation of much of the national dialogue today.  The left has the advantage or disadvantage of the New York/DC media bubble (what Tom Brokaw labeled an “axis”) which myopically focuses on endless hours, days and weeks of repetitious ad hominine attacks on the Trump personality.  Even in his speech on the Senate floor and the predictable fawning interviews on MSNBC and CNN, Senator Jeff Flake focused his bitterness on the Trump personality with only allusions to possible policy problems.  In his only specific policy problem, Flake said he liked the White House tax plan.

To the point of ad nausea, those media panels of parroting pundits keep wondering why Trump has the support of the Christian right with his indisputable morally challenged history.  It is because of what he and his administration are doing, not what he is or says.

The Trump personality is cause for concern.  Though he is not on the ballot, 2018 may again be personality versus policies.  The results of any campaign depend first on what the voters decide to decide upon.  If the focus on the Trump personality, the GOP may well lose the current advantage on Capitol Hill.  If voters still see policies as more important, the Democrat will be suffering yet another post-election hangover.  

One of the most important assets in politics – more than policies, programs, money and style – is credibility.  Republicans are at a disadvantage because the biased media tends to give false credibility to their friends on the left while distorting the credibility of those on the right.  It is in the court of public opinion where the prosecutorial media presents its brief.  

Trump has significant personality flaws that play into their hands.  He is a vulgar street fighter.  I have experienced the types on the streets of Chicago.  It is the language and style of gang bangers and Mafia enforcers. They are tough, braggadocios, crude and threatening.  Hit me, I hit you back harder.  How and why a well educated and sophisticated businessman would have succumbed to that style is difficult to understand.  Although, it does have a bit of a stereotypical Bronx tone to it.  Maybe it has to do with being in the construction business where such burly banter is more common.

That personality results in the unending string of sophomoric squabbles over relatively meaningless issues.  While there may be some advantage to throwing out a bit of catnip to distract the felines of the Fourth Estate, Trump’s tweets create too much petty political pugilism.

Then there is a matter of accuracy.  Trump’s inaccuracies seem to stem from several sources.  He, as we all do, make inaccurate statements based on ignorance of the facts, faulty recall or having been provided bad information.  This can happen occasionally to the most honest of souls, but a President has and needs many safeguards that we commoners do not have. In language he would appreciate, Trump just shoots off his mouth too often.

Trump also seems to have a knack for making statements that are ill-crafted, making them subject to interpretation and therefore fodder for his foes.  Most recently was his choice of words in talking to the Gold Star mother.  

The biggest problem, however, is the misstatements that seem to justify the title of lies. Trump’s tweet accusing Senator Corker of helping President Obama secure the Iran Deal when the senator, for all his own faults, was a staunch, outspoken and published opponent of the deal, was an inexcusable self-launched assault on his own credibility.  I would have been an imponderable misstatement had Trump corrected himself, but failure to do so justifiably earned the label “lie.”  It is incomprehensible that being in the bright center of the fact-checking public spotlight that such “mistakes” are even possible on so regular a basis.  If they are actually intended to fool the public, he is only fooling himself.  

What is not really fully appreciated is just how easily Trump could fix his public image.  It is only a matter of a change in style.  He can be tough when necessary, but smart tough.  If he does, all the attacks on him will have been for naught and he would achieve a degree of popularity that should salve his ego to a large extent. That political tsunami that started in 2010 is still there for him if he can catch the wave.  

Having said all this, there is nothing that Trump has said or done, past and present, that can justify the hypocritical, hysterical, biased, unrelenting and dishonest response from those encapsulated in the New York/DC media bubble.  They are without professional and moral rudders.  Their attacks on Trump are 24/7.  It is like being forced to listen to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee rant, rave and rage on an endless loop.

In the all-out fight for the soul of America, the powerful east coast media has embraced an unfettered partisan partnership with the elite radical left.  They have abandoned all semblances of journalistic duty and ethics to take up the roles of prosecutor and propagandist.  

They well recognize that to preserve the established order, they must destroy Trump and the GOP before the 2018 General Election.  The bias in their reporting appears to be reflective of a realization that they cannot take Trump down on policy.   They cannot even flip the Congress to their political progressive allies by letting up on their campaign of personal demonization.  The resistance strategy to not “normalize” Trump just a renationalization to provide no balance, no positive news, even when deserved. The press and the pundits even demonize any and all who will judge Trump more fully and fairly – hoping to disconnect supporters from Trump by intimidation and public humiliation.  It is the politics of personal destruction based on acute desperation. 

Like many who voted for Trump and, if given a similar philosophic choice would do so again, I have never defended his crappy personality.  However, I have actually been pleasantly surprised by his strong conservative appointments and policies.  I do have policy disagreements with the Trump administration, but they pale to my opposition to the far left policies of the past.

Many swamp drainers hold their noses at much of the President’s outrageous tweets and statements – too many of which are difficult if not impossible to defend.  They do so because they see Justice Gorsuch on the high court and the many other conservatives heading to the federal benches across the nation. While the press  waxes ineloquently over the President’s peeing contest with outgoing senators, he and the Republicans in Congress are creating jobs, tightening our borders, rolling back suffocating regulations, reining in the unbridled power of the bureaucracy, ending the generational do-nothing diplomacy over North Korea, Iran and even China, and the list goes on.  The crashing sound you hear is the crumbling of the political palace constructed by and for the establishment elite.  That is well worth a little nose holding.

And with a doff of the cap to upcoming Halloween … As much as the media attempts to scare us with a monster Trump costume of their creation, that is still less scary for many Americans than the thought of opening the door of government and finding such frightening characters as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Perez, Keith Ellison, Al Sharpton, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Richard Blumenthal, the Podesta brothers, the Emmanuel brothers and all the rest of the political zombies.  

POSTSCRIPT: In defense of fanny patting —

Who would have thought it?  The Yale education Brahman who served as the 41st president of the United States is a dirty old man.   While that may ruffle the fur of the politically correct hardcore ladies of the far left, I am betting it evokes a warm chuckle from most Americans.  Nothing is more amusing and endearing to the American culture than that proverbial dirty old man.

It is almost a scene from a Hollywood comedy.  To wit.

“Sexy ambitious starlet smiling as she stands between a frail wheelchair-bound former president of the United States and his matronly wife.  His hand his out of view.  Suddenly the starlet’s eyebrows pop up, her eyes open wide and her face takes on that shocked questioning look that, itself, provides the answer.  The President displays a satisfied smile reminiscent of the late Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner’s fixed grin.  Without having to be told what transpired, the President’s wife rolls her eyes in recognition and resolve.”


Unfortunately, the comedy turns into a melodrama when the starlet seizes the opportunity to gain a moment in the limelight by accusing the geezer-in-chief of sexual assault.  Of course, she meant sexual battery.  Assault means to engender fear, but if there is contact, the legal terms is battery.  In either case, it is an overreaction based on the new hard-left feminist’s standard of gender interaction.  Raising this to sexual battery only trivializes real sexual battery.

In my many years — especially the earlier ones — I have been kissed, calf rubbed, butt patted, nipple pinched, crotch crushed, and even licked without invitation.  I was able to escape these advances without injury or emotional trauma.  Actually, I took them more as compliments and crimes.  Silly me!  

None of this is to suggest that I do not take real sexual predation seriously.  The presidential pat was not predation, however.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.