On the first of this week's podcasts, we dilate upon Meryl Streep attacking Donald Trump and Donald Trump attacking Meryl Streep and how Trump represents a different kind of combative conservative—one who has his own form of pop-culture reach that is beyond the capacity of the Streeps to silence or control. We also talk about why it is that the declassified Russia report is not the document it could have or should have been. And some other stuff. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine. Podcast today is January. Nine. Twenty seventeen eleven days until the inauguration of Donald Trump. I'm John path towards the editor of commentary with me, as always nor Rossman our system on. Remember not well, today. I know I Judd sad, so very sad and a green while our senior editor, who is well, although I sure, maybe second spirit item it won't work I feel ok, but I am bound to get yeah I was, I was a major hypochondriac andor and helpful to be
a very small room. We are working on it. We are that we are in a tiny room or new studio which we basically carved out of my office a couple weeks ago, which is about five and a half feet wide by that and feet. Long, sadly, are repeated it I'll do. It is a tradition, and if we avoid, I hope we avoid getting sick, as my daughter is being bought. Mitzvah will be about mitzvah in ten days eleven days twelve days, and so it really wouldn't help me to get sick. So now, I'm back off The other thing that we need to do is say that commentary magazine is these. Seventy one in its say, the second year as the pre we're intellectual, hopefully in America, from a conservative perspective. Offering analysis incite criticism commentary as befits its name commentary. Please join us a commentary.
Using that calm click on subscribe, you will, if you enter the coupon code. Twenty seventeen get a did well subscription for forty mandate. I would set of mighty ninety five and an all access subscription, including our beautiful, play magazine in your mailbox for two thousand four hundred and ninety five, instead of two thousand nine hundred and ninety five. So that's the coupon code, twenty seven commentary magazine that calm. Thank you very much. Now, of course, with Terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and dams, threatening to explode in Mosul end God knows what else is going on in the world, we have the world's most important controversy. What Merrill Street I didn't say about Donald Trumpet, the golden global words on Sunday night and weather, Donald Trump should have responded to what Merrill Streep SAD and was what narrow Streep said in
something not only to Donald Trump to his voters and is what Merrill Street said. The reason, the Donald Trump Card, elected and wise Donald Trump, responding to the political a man of a Hollywood movie star when he is about to be the most powerful man of the world and why is the Associated Press fact checking Donald Trump calling Merrill Streep overrated by saying? No, in fact, she is right. Just about where she ought to be rated like that's a factual at something That is that a person is well as the opinion that Merrill Streep overrated. There is some. You know literally factual basis to calling her properly rated it is as though the world has gone mad. This is not the sort of conversation when expects to be having just before the inauguration are present, who is going to undo end were very course on many things that have gone on over the last eight years, including, most importantly, the giant debate over Obama CARE and its repeal and replacement.
Worthy repeal and delay, and its replacement or some version there too, and yet here we are because this is the nature of the president we are now entering into and I think There are some lessons to be learned from this, about how Trump got elected and why he represents a unique kind of difficulty for America's cultural commissars Abe. Do you have any ideas in this regard, It's interesting that unique difficult. I mean you're saying you represent I'll do beyond just having a president with whom The vast majority of our entertainment culture disagrees with wreckers. That's normal right amendment tabled during the Bush years Bush years Reagan years, but in a first Bush years, Nixon years, it's totally normal for the entertainment community to be stand,
opposition to a Republican or to rob Republicans in Congress or whatever you know during the certainly during the Clinton years, Republicans were whipping boy. Four bollywood, even though they were in the presidency. Yet no, I think what is different different about him, and I think this is what really smarts with them is at a huge part of his appeal. Based on his shirt of saying, We don't have to accept sort of how reality is being shaped for us and and sort of in the reality shaping business to some degree right. But the other thing is there He uses. He is a person who comes. He is a business man who is best known as a business. Man threw his the projection of his business on television and an image that was created on television in two thousand for on a hit television programme as a business man, he is a more questionable figure with many
losses and many gains and many this is in many. That's but d, the thing that made it possible for him to be president was that he. Start on a television show for eleven years number. One and number two mastered some part of the popular culture that a lot of us don't pay any attention to meaning Worldwide wrestling mixed, martial arts going on weird talk, show those like Alex Jones. Ending in becoming a major figure in the pages of the national inquirer? So so he is a after a pause of a kind of pop culture, that Hollywood doesn't give awards to and pays no attention to again earns billions of thou and, in fact, kind of resents Khazars. There's some sort of scripted non scripted divide among among thy television people. Writing them scripted. The actors resent our reality tv. Of course they do. But but the point is that he is.
Master of the pop culture in his own right, but it is the kind of pop culture or the kind of culture, yes that they not we fear, but derived and a lot of us derived them frankly with good reason, because reality, tv and mixed martial arts and worldwide wrestling and all of that Retaining though it may be, is a lower form, is the lowest form of american culture get. It turns out that, of course, just because its lowest or culture doesn't mean it doesn't, have cultural purchase and create cultural enthusiasm and represent a counter culture to the larger culture that we saw on display. At the golden gloves, Rent Merrill Stripes, though thing the mouse. You said that didn't have anything to do with tromp was there was something like it. You get rid of all the people in this room, meaning all these foreigners. I guess I was really relates. Trump. All you'll have left his foot Alan mixed martial arts. Well what she going
in spite of all a lot of people, would you go and credible in football football is the number one rated thing on television Sunday night football which was actually you know, sir. There wasn't a game the Sunday, I guess it's the AIDS, Here the golden gloves is the high radio and television every week. So while the left has a problem and more p, watch. Football then go to the movies and yeah before balls and responsible for promoting violence and our culture. The NFL is conspicuously negligent with regard to the then series of concussions are incurred by players and how they try to cover that up and that the left has. Football has been in the left crosshairs now for a long time, and they probably would have continued with a crusade against it in the event that they found themselves in the ascendancy in a second, the administration, while I'm in the real question here goes to something on. A lot of conservatives were saying on twitter last night, which is that mail street speech and various other things, including the comedian,
after he lorry who want a golden globe for his performance and John Liqueur. Many series, though his best known for having played the you, know, misanthropic doktor house. Was a second rate. British comic who had the jackpot by getting cast on this giant hit, show- and you know, gave this Oleaginous speech about how this may be the last golden globes, because you know who even knows if any foreigners will be allowed in the United States and like one finds or go home and don't come back that, like you're, no one's, if you're not at risk of losing your work, don't you know don't play that hand, that's ridiculous, so that the real question is? Is it true that this is what got Donald Trump elected Noah
Unless our attitude I mean I, this precisely, there's no Mamma causal reason for Donald Trump selection button. I suppose that the sort of distance between those who defend themselves to be cultural elites in the culture that claim to serve has been pretty well defined over the course of this election season. I dont think anybody's arguing about faith here either. I remember the Bush years. I remember whenever you know, award ceremony Award the formula was you when the word you come up? You thank the Academy in Attack George W. I shouldn't get off the stage that was part of that was how it went for just about everybody was actually when I think a lot of conservatives who were my age began to who were interested in conservative politics, and to turn off from entertainment. No is somehow was still thirty, three or thirty five. Oh he's, thirty, five and yes, I was in college during the Iraq war. So that's that's where Maya
let it go maturation occurred really, but as long, but if these guys arguing for good faith- and I think that they are there- also reflective of kind of their direct knowledge of a cultural and sort of impasse, impotence. I guess ass. A brother were due to lie about our right. Without, I think, is the shock right. The shock of the last so the shock of November eighth and for a lot as was that the cultural norms had changed, and the cultural norms under which we ve lived previously would have said that no, unlike Donald Trump, could about an elected, and yet he got elected the question, as did the cultural norms change, because the situation that country was so dire that you know it needed a wrecking ball to come in and change things or to the cultural norms change, because the cultural norms had become toxic, which is the case that this is why Trump got away
these attitudes get me, don't forget what a but a huge you know this is like it. Twenty four hours, or so before the golden gloves was, was a bombers final. Farewell celebrity studied Deb Party too, for I am at the White House. The attic does for them by the way are really hysterical, innocent, The tragic way or about people wanted to stay that late night, because it was the end of this era. This is the very last guy
asked what we could see you didn't want to leave because to leave was to allow this bubble burst, reexamined. Reawaken to this new trumpery unreality, because I think about the trumpery unreality versus the Obama reality, so the Obama reality and the way in which it will vile bomber pave the way for tromp as though he came into office, and he knew tat if he could master the levers of pop culture, he could keep in touch with his young Guenaud multicultural audience right. So he went on John Stewart. He did this. He went on between two friends with Zack Elephant accesses as no loves dimension. He was interviewed by of Youtube or who loves to sit in a bathtub been in fruit loops. And an oak look stuff like that in order and slow slow jam. The news with Jimmy Fallon then did all that stuff in order to keep in touch with
remain accessible to people? Who don't follow the news right that that was the idea? Well, Donald Trump has that wire? That's the key The Donald Trump is that he found this medium for himself. That allows him direct communication whenever he wishes it to two hundred billion people instantly in two hundred and forty characters. And, like you said, it's a demo that this group of entertainers don't understand. No particularly lie. It was something inside them to understand it, and they do I get. The thing is that the idea was well. Ok, you have to function within the cultural, terms in order to succeed at it. Cuz. If you don't you're, going to get hammered right wing step, one line out of political correctness in your tweet gets the uncomfortable and you get a lot of attention. Have to apologize for you your account off, you say, you're, sorry, you have to go on an apology, tour and there's trump and Trump does whatever he wants to do, and
what every wants to say and is not held to the standard because his he is not somebody who is full surely attempting to be anodyne and all things to all people. He is a pot. He has decided to embrace the polar his nature of our culture and go on one pole. Basically, this is a point I made in the past, but its relevant here is that Barack Obama, give the sense of cultural ascendancy that the left have from Braga Burma's ubiquity and pop culture of created this alternate reality in which they were able to ignore the fact that Democrats, we're losing elections at a rapid pace remark who pays losing all left shades assets, his real Agnes, except his real along and engine, losing the White House in on the very twenty. Sixteen was this dot Duncan ICE Water bath where they looked around them and realise that their at the nature of their political power for
most a hundred years and there's a lesson, therefore Donald Trump fans to because, as you say, he's created his own little insular bubble. Therein republicans are just as likely to be able to try to save the the pain of losses by retreating into these trompe and lilienthal bubbles. But you know, I think you know, John what you were saying before, captured so troops have embraced the pole. I think that the Obama and liberals before I don't think they were just as polar. I don't think they realised and I think they thought that they spoke for sums larger segment than they did. I think they thought this was sort of the way things are now broadly girl. That's the nature of a bubble rise. It you think that you're living in alarm universe than you are living in. I mean this one thing I think, helps blame, why the Anti Trust movement ever a purchaser deed, our had the purchase that it didn't. You knock em off in the republican primaries or when the election, which is that one of them,
in criticisms of him from the right was he wasn't really. A conservative righty was for all these things that weren't conservative. He was a big giver too liberal causes we now he. He never said anything that we believe You ve been on all sorts of matters, but he had a line himself so conclusively against the prevailing cultural. Let's move left that making the case He wasn't really a conservative didn't didn't conveyed conservatives who well. They hate him more than anybody else. Gotta be one of us: they hate us, they hate him he's one of us, and you know it. Is he pays a certain amount of lip service like the great issue in one of the great interesting issues, this election? As you know, the sky rocket gigantic evangelical number for the thrice Mary Tromp, who still talks horribly about women and all of that and wider, even jugglers vote for me.
We want to maintain, equates the exit polls well. Part of it is that they understood that if he was a blind against the prevailing cultural orthodoxy, he would be back. For them and their issues on religious liberty and various other things than Hilary ever would have been because she was totally aligned with the you know: throw Baker and hill. For not, you know, closer bakers, business down if he refuses to too a cake, you know, deny taxes status to up to a catholic charity his own hand out birth control, and so they looked at Trump and the signals that he was sending in the cultural manner, not in the policy manner where all they needed to see to think that he was the guy. Who would all things being equal have back as opposed to somebody who is gonna go at them with a we note, with an ice pick on the back of their
and now she I'm wondering now does deserve. Hollywood can have a think about women. Maybe because there were the words these videos prior to this, the last lesson that we ve seen the past you elections were a bunch of Hollywood stars get together and they sort of lecture at you in and they in others. They try to take a semi, come comedic approach to why you need to vote for their cannon. That sort of hated sell by date, these things and they ve sort of, are they aware that did that their preaching Missis I'm sort of self periodic now in the in the Trump age and might be sort of change tack will see. I thought the strips speech represented a more elegant version actually of all that that is, she never mentioned Trump by name all what she talked about aside from the football and the mixed martial arts was his
you save imitation of a disabled reporter and how that broke her heart, because this normalizes things people see the president doing the sort of thing and then they're gonna think it's ok for them to do it. I don't think that there is. Anything problematic about that statement of that message. It is the problem with Trump being president after all and Trump being, president is a problem for that reason, and for the kind of cultural messages that he did normalize. Having said that, it may just be that Hollywood has taken this all so far that you can't listen to a rather elegantly put. Criticism without saying well. This is no different from Michael, more yelling at Bush Arrow Morris, the dongle yelling at Bush at the at the Oscars? It's all the same it just a bunch of you know, rich people, pretending to like poor peat and yet and yet crapping all over everything that they enjoy, because they're making themselves feel good
and it's the expected this of a two that I think zapped it of any actual power to you. You know you, you wait for those those speeches. Well, there's two sites that coin, I suppose yeah. I think you both make good points in that this kind of thing is kind of wrote and we expect that as a result, we turn it out, but at the same time it states is the audiences fault. If they can appreciate the the eloquence of a message that shares similar thematic elements with something it's all about more Bulger, I mean that's, that's not it's! It's it's too easy to let the right off the hook to just say: oh god, this is more celebrity nonsense when well, there are some elements, as you say, that that are valuable cultural commentary, that we should turn the symbol, the matter is were entering into a into a period of open culture, war and so
with this is which cider you one moment and their defining the fight. That's the odd part is now to be fair to trump whatever, whatever pathologies he played with in the course of the election. The you know and and and whatever, but discomfort things you sing about Putin and all of that this whole idea. But he is illegitimate. The election was illegitimate. You know everything about him needs to be resisted, You know all of his nominees need to be opposed. Everything needs to be stopped. All of that. That's not him he, and there he now picking cabinet officials and if he goes out to dinner without the secret service Without the press follow him. They spent two days having a temper tantrum because he walked for buggy, went for blocks away from TAT hour and aid at the same place that was featured in were then that linking eighties movie
yeah Wall Street now withdraw away, went away you wanted now he went raising his orders, you into the twenty one, whatever it doesn't matter, it's like whatever he does is bad, and so therefore you know if we are following along with this, and you voted for em. Well, ok, you're! In for a penny in for a pound. It's all you know they're, not making it easy about the left, the liberals is that they are not making it easy for the people who voted uncomfortably for Trump to remain and comfort. With their vote. They are solidifying. His support by so hysterics oh and reductive, when he is
given the many grounds to with the exception of Russia, he is not offering such grounds. There's there's something that I think I don't know if youve encounter both of you, but I certainly have, whereas, if you were a conservative whose skeptical of trumpets primaries and now are sort of excited about the prospect of some of his cabinet picks, for example, your big have betrayed a cause at some point, as did so. The left expected Anti Trump conservatives to register democratic and joined them on the parapet said it doesn't. I don't think they they quite thought through. What the new sure of conservative frustration with Trump really meant. I think they got that these regions, new liberal converts. We haven't you my buddy Jonah Goober, no often says that one of the great one of the great annoyances of his life is the determination of liberals to tell conservatives how they
feel what they should believe and how they should act when, of course, what they want is for conservatism to fail and liberalism to succeed, and therefore they are not exactly fair testimony testifies to the how how conservatism should work best and the the condescending arch notion that will, of course you all wrong. So if you just behave, this way will have more respect for you. Well, that is ultimately the problem with that you know the decline in America's institutions that we have been marking and talking about now for thirty there is met, is really in this. You know excel rating on this sort of accelerating rolling down the hill- bolder very well right Exactly thank. You means that You know the power of exclusive of of the the power of the threat of exclusion from a decent court
as you know, from the pages of this publication or a job at this university whatever is now no longer has any purchase for swell cuz, none of us is getting any of those jobs, and none of us is getting those academic positions and, second, because they're much less attract they used to be because the establishment is so weak, so their enforcement ability- is now only this kind of like I'm so disappointed in you. You know I'm really I've been. I was really thinking better of you until now to which the only proper response is up. Yours he fell. Who asked you? You know, that's not. I wasn't. I wasn't saying what I said to make you. I would say well. I guess I was best for the country and I was worried about the country's future direction and, like I said, I think one of the one of the great can under a for a lot of,
us for me, for you now offer you a job is. How are we to think about this when we ve spent the last eighteen months? Thinking that the result of a Trump presidency or tramping president would be highly problematic in the simple answer is that I think it's fair to say that we remain extraordinarily distressed I've, this rapprochement with Russia that seems to be have hardened into a kind of orthodoxy but he supposedly isn't supposed to possess a deal maker and so pragmatic and everything- and this is the one thing that he simply will not allow himself to bend on and then the other is that there are some really remarkably good cabinet appointments, and you can't look at it and say that you know having Jim Mattis Secretary of Defense. Is something that shouldn't be celebrated if you have the view,
Of the threat from IRAN and the nature of the need to do you know too well to project american power in the twenty first century. You wouldn't really think you could do a lot better than Jim matters at the bedside of asset. Education has got ready. Bp I write. So what can we do? What can we do? You gotta do so? That's it it's a case by case thing. That's that's intellectual honesty, intellectual honesty, isn't here, a guy in always shapes and forms or everything that he does has to be opposed, because this is a normal and unless you really do believe, and I think there are a couple of people that I know who do believe. That he represents an unparalleled threat to our very you know, existence and are very democracy. Then you have to oppose everything that he does. I think that's all crazy, but the fact is if it were true and if it is true,
If you really believe that our culture is so desiccated that it can deal with that phenomenon, I think I think everybody is wrong. I mean if, if enough, we find out that he's using the presidency to advance the interests of the Trump Organization in the rat relatively bake. It weighs he will residency will not survive that in our. If we find out that you know that that there's something more untoward in the relationship between him and put men than we know his presidency will not survive that ethical. Comes. This surprising relief is that the culture war aspect of this feels to me first sort of Tom. I can remember even this wasn't the case with with other republican President's. Being fought on the sort of more even on more even land because of the fact that he owns culturally a huge segment of the popular culture that that sort of
that wasn't. That is an on board with with the say, the folks we saw last night, I gotta say, does The only way to me over this x x, I, the fighting back, is something new will wash worse. George, W Bush, the wooden Dane right to lower himself, where you now to fight the cultural fight right, it wasn't getting gay Each with you know, Congo Westward Kenya. Where said that you know he didn't go, he wanted black people to die. And you can imagine if Kenya, where said that about troms around within our trump, would call uncanny Western, have a heart attack and or something like that. You know that that would be where he would do it is that good? Is it exertions for their own sake or not necessarily victories? I mean we're not talking about taking back any ground and also the note what we were opened with is this idea that he is a culturally deleterious figure in the fat in so far as the fact that he's kind of a bolder crass guy who can't it doesn't know
He'll that he won't die rights and that conservatives are not going to necessarily be comfortable with defending all of his actions in his character, but his hygienist in this respect is american popular called which is no. Despite you know its highest marks right, which are like the movies that a big once celebrate in itself in the tv shows that are better than tv shows of ordinarily, been all that american popular culture is a sore, and so, You know the idea, you know it's mostly a sewer he is actually a creation partially of its descent into the sewer answer. Oh he s, Wanna put Merrill streets, you know remarkable performing face on themselves and put Lala Land, which is a fantastic movie as the greatest thing ever, but that doesn't mean that that doesn't mean that most of what is produced by american popular culture isn't degrading
to the human consciousness, and therefore, if he's gonna, fight back with low tactics, the idea that their producing art and that he should be ashamed of himself, because there are just producers, they should be ashamed of themselves. I've been writing about this, for forty years, an american popular culture again like that I am levels you know their better television chosen there used to be. It is eight. It is a pity it is a pit of You know illiteracy and vulgarity am profanity and openness and you know the idea that it is in any position whatsoever to to speak from the more high ground against anybody, so Trump on access. Hollywood says the stuffy says about access Hollywood right, you think too high would casting couch doesn't still exist. I assure you, I assure you that there are producers
root high right today, who are you know, demanding sex in exchange for parts I mean I that is just as true. So it's not even the question and casting their girlfriends and casting their boyfriends and doing stuff, like that, that's the name. It is a transactional business and that's part of the nature of the transaction. They got no business lecturing anybody and how they should behave right. Well that, like the other side of that, as conservatives used to find that kind of gross, and do they now abandoned that position because Tromp is a creature of this morass. Well, you ve got an interesting point now, because the question then goes to the famous political question of unilateral disarmament right, which is I'm not gonna stoop to the level of negative campaigning with my opponent. Does that I'm not gonna? Do that? Will great congratulations, the you won't, do it and then he'll be you and you can cry all the way.
You know to your bed and through his you'd help successful six years is a senator right. So the question here a trump doesn't view at this way. He thinks you get attacked you fight back or you attack back in a belittling. You know sometimes really gross way, and the fact is that gap. Maybe there are people lot of people in the United States who want to feel as though their president isn't just stand. There and let these you email, let these people give it to them the stuff. It's gone, nonsense, hilarious things that we read for a couple of months since the election. This particularly this
same thing by Med. Resnick Coffer think progress there, but he wrote somewhere on Facebook about how he brought a plumber into his house. They realize the plumber might be a trump voter, even though he had no. He wasn't even talking to the plumber. Did the plumber know that he NET Resnick off was jewish and when he voted for Trump did he know that he might be offending customers like men, NED Resnick off was afraid to have the plumber in his house because he had voted for Trump and was so hostile to NED Resnick Cuffs values. This is all because he called a guy into fixes. Goddamn sink, you know and NED itself, Redneck NED Resnick offer any kind of a man. Maybe you could fix his own sink. Call on somebody. He doesn't even know whether the guy voted for Trumpery Niger spins this fantasia, and then here is it with all of us
The world is a form of virtue, signalling right. That's just one example of this madness. This whole thing where I'm, for example, a writer fur, some comedy programme, said something in March, which I read today, which is something like.
You realize that Trump voters are all those people that you ve had to be on the bus with you now happening like that thing, because their son are those people on the bus enough smelly once the ones who have been. I don't really have nice clothing. I mean those people that are being debased and devalued in this way. The notion that they have a tribune and the president is no small thing. I mean, I think it's ridiculous, but they might not think it's ridiculous right while they might not. But why would they? Why would we think it's ridiculous, because here is a guy who's born into comfortable circumstances who has prided himself on being very well heeled and a member of the New York City establishment, who has been a
social claimer. All his life is not a cultural latest. Never has that doesnt collect painting obsessed with he does collect paintings paintings of himself known to her. He doesn't collect art. He doesn't give money too art, silt sliced alone collects art, Steve Martin collect art every producer and Holly It has a Mondrian on his wall, I mean but ledges. The notion in living on eighty doesn't give money to cultural institutions. He doesn't pay for the operate David. They all the notion in level David, Coke of Coke industries, nay, you know it for a hundred million dollar renovation of the New York State Theatre. Here you know and built plazas and further Metropolitan Museum of ART Trump does do anything like that. That's not is the notion that doesn't have an initial rescue. Thirty five dollar hamburger- those that I was going to the wrestling match a notion that Donalds ease on stage the notion that the old Trump is some Hammond Agar with Joan Joe six pack taste.
Is not one that he's even cultivated. It's been a major imposed on. Do not agree with you. I think in the end his his he is, like Elvis was. He is the poor persons idea of a rich purse. Hundreds actions website, and even even even everything dripping in gold is this? Is it's like a lottery winner that is lacking is the perfect. He is the a sense of what an unpretentious person thinks you do with money. Okay, so As I said, it's like Elvis, if you ever been to grace land was interesting. Now, Elvis of course was born in a shotgun shackling streamline poured Biloxi Mississippi, so he has this house
this and what is it? It's, not a big house. It's a nice house II. We added some stuff too. It would basically it's a nineteen sixties. Poor persons idea of how rich person lives gigantic couches carpeting to the ceiling, TVS embedded in the walls. You know just serve like art work. That you know like one step up from from black light paintings. You now pull tables pingpong, Pope Portugal, machines or everything built in. And like. If you want to know why people go thirty five years, forty years after Elvis's deaths still stand online to go, see grassland. It's because there was an until about Elvis's, how eldest lived his life? That still speaks to that, and I'm not saying that this is true trumpets every particular figure.
He is a very unusual figure in New York cultural circles. He he is not in know he was, he always stood in some opposition, always felt like he was an outsider. Looking in everything that he built everything he constructed everything he did was looked down upon as crass and vulgar by the now by the city's elites- and he at some point decided that he was never gonna win them over. He was angry at them. He didn't like them. He was gonna pursue his life, the way he wanted to pursue his own life and there's something about that. That speaks to them. You described, though, a kind of pathology there, a kind of area in secure discomfited individual with his within his own skin, who is constantly seeking the approval of outside forces and Donald Trump case it's the editorial boards of the city. She has an interest in exile. I sort of took the exact opposite way I'd. I thought you sort of Meda compelling case for fur unique figure, naething someday, I get me dragging, he has aspect of all of it all of it together. You know em,
really manage question of how he's perceived, not who he is, I dont, really Doesn't even matter anymore, you know who he is in his own person. That's what he's going to do with a public policy figure in as a cultural figure that matter and I ate, but what I do. I agree with his this idea that ok, this is it like male Streep attacked him and he attacked back and now you know everyone's gonna love him, and this is why he's gonna get reelected and twenty twenty M, and if you think that the that the it's like Democrats don't have a purchase on how to attack him yet, but they're going to find one and the culture doesn't know how to attack him yet, but it's going to figure out how little find his little fine is weak underbelly. It's! The idea that it can get can't get to him is it is. It is a false pulp. It's a false premise like this. A very complicated situation here what I still wonder, what they're going to do if he does things that they would Normally, like I mean, are they are they going to?
attack on policy. If it's a kind of policy that they would, they would normally agree Maybe you and now about have written articles on this very subject for the next issue of commentary on the on the paradox of it. Now how Democrats are going to attack trump for exactly the same things that day gave Barack Obama pass on, and that is, as a view put it in your peace, that he is going to be. His foreign policy is going to be far more continuous with Obama's. Then it's gonna be jagged, discontinue us in many ways and how You gonna respond when he basically pursues policies of our anti ideological detente with you now with unsavory regimes that was ultimately the way Obama pursued and anti ideological, Anti freedom or anti. You know freedom, agenda presidency and that's how trumps seems to be lining himself up. So what happens when he just continues along the same road, but I mean that the I think, but some of them might happens at least
the entertainment wing of of of the left is then there might be more tests at last. Night's attack was really about his character. I mean it. Wasn't it wasn't about policy at opera we know what was honest, I think from Middle Street and then the people who responded to it as they did. I would I would bet- and I will have any evidence to back this up- it's just a guarantee, then, I would bet that the reason why this is resonating so hard today with a lot of pilot political reporters is that they remember that this attack on search couple escape besides. God bless him in the arms was Pritchett. Emily poorly received by voters in focus groups and in it made its way into advertising is a result supposedly the thing that played worst in focus groups of anything about Trump ever it was a really big deal and that's wise. I was suspect that a lot of little reporters want this to be an issue in order to resurrect something that really did her Donald Trump and when they,
to figure out how to attack Donald Trump it'll, be hypothetical. No offense to Mr Gawronski has an excellent rapporteur, but hypothetically culturally weaker figures. More helpless. Here's individuals, who neither light I hans like high before coming, attacking him from a position of strength. But if, as you say, disappointment, perhaps you know dejection and that is resonates and that I would. I would imagine that there are probably a few political reporters who in the, but if they were being honest, you shot him with sodium Pentothal. They would admit. We hope this hurts him right will. No doubt every alot of people want things to hurt him and they can and they have heard me. Let's face it, looked the simple fact that had her his that you know he he won. He won a good electoral bout margin. He lost the national popular vote, You got forty. Six percent of the vote is a minority president. You out here one office, you know with
is numbers under widow is on an unpopular figure with his numbers underwater. This is a Kant he is. He is entering a minefield as a as a politician, and a lot of people on the right have gotten increasingly jubilant without understanding that he is going into office, institutionally increase, only strong, because his party is in control of the house in the Senate. But personally weaker than any president has been. You know, since Clinton's first gear and clings first year was a calamity emulate catastrophe. People, don't even remember it out of these first two years, where a calamity him, he ended up in a losing the House and Senate, and you know only managing to stay on cause the economy turned around and he basically announced that the air of the over and sign welfare foreman. You know very sad, but you know institutionally that that is not a good precedent.
And yet there are some signs of that. We should look to in the Vienna potential weakness of this administration. So there is, there is the there is the incoming president, who has made this unambiguous hunger to have a close relationship with Putin like that, the central He of his foreign policy agenda, means that at least three major foreign policy figures and his administration, his secretary of defences, nationals the revised in his CIA director who are, who are almost obsessive about the threat from IRAN, Russia's and ally of arawn, russian or honor. Allied in you know, helping Bosch are Alaska and Syria, and you know, what's going to happen there like. How is that going to play out the president in his tops foreign policy advisors? At close, and and military advisers at a deep ideological odds like that. That is a recipe for you know, and he it's not like. We did
see a campaign in which he fired three campaign, ledgers and dismissed people- and you know, there was a lot of chaos going on over there from town and he can't fire the Senate Majority Leader and the speaker of the house, both of whom the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has spent his career for gearing up for this moment when he finally has the political capital and the impetus to reform in and then you have the trouble administrations spokesperson on this and they show same we're. Not gonna touched social security. A Medicare salute did so you have this greek tragedy for Paul Ryan has just come. You know locked into this in limbo where he is unable to do this thing that you wanted to do all his life is going to sit back and take it
Well, that's the question. Isn't it now interesting enough this week? Moving on to another topic, we have, of course the another interesting impotent. You know crying screaming thing from from from liberals and whoever you know, memories that seem to be. You know no longer than ants that you know it's terrible to verify confirmation hearings this week when you know hasn't been precise vetting from the ethics offices on some of the candidates. This is totally standard. You know people had had to content hearings in the weeks before the amiss. Rachel was sworn in. Two thousand and nine and two thousand and one candy rice had her confirmation hearing two weeks before before the Colin Powell has confirmation hearing two weeks before the swearing in of George W Bush.
On the grounds that this couldn't wait. You have to have the herb secretary of State in your secretary of Defence in Europe, the attorney general in place as soon as possible, and this also they should all be delayed. Everything should be delayed, shouted the lay everything because it just not ready and they haven't. Given this, you know, office of government ethics, enough information. Well, the officer, gum ethics, largely exists to shield the White House from embarrassment if their ethical disclosures that are bad or been a raise pub bad questions about the candidates for the you know, for the for the cabinet. Secretaries, that's why this process exists to shield the President himself from embarrassment will, as I tweeted the other day. What, if you can't embarrassed the president, what you have an unbearable president in out then do not gonna care
and you then, of course set up the prospect of somebody getting in who didn't disclose everything fully and then. Basically, the question then is: will will the will public pressure forced him to resign or will or will Congress have to act? If you know if they were lied, to which I think this The fact that Trump is present. They don't want to hurt him and all of that, and if there is a real case of actual malfeasance here, where can't work, where we're ok from a literally doesn't tell the truth about, you know in an open hearing sworn under oath and all of that like there that's gonna, be bad news. You can more easily invasion somewhere like something it didn't come up in confirmation, hearings explodes in the news and die of AIDS for a while until Elsa political conversation, something Republicans in what wanted to do. Don't get, doesn't get that and remember. You drop, has very little pool political, personal connection to a lot of these, but some of them he's gotta connection. Doing Stephen Maneuver,
his connection to and be a couple of other people, but it doesn't have a connection to Rex. Tillerson someday doesn't have it has some mild connection to Jeff sessions like sessions a friend of his you know Tom prizes ages as somebody that never even met until he named him. I mean it's not like you know he isn't. A such a person was capable of throwing people over the side if he thinks that it is necessary to do so. And he's gonna have other fights on his hands. He's gonna want it actually invest in and be there right. The final thing that we should talk about is the release of the declassified version of the intelligence community's report on russian interference in the twenty sixteen election, which happened just before the weekend and you know, has created the conditions under which
A very liberal columnist for the New York Times Charles Blow has declared that you know. Trump is an illegitimate president, because this report says that Russia interfere with the election and therefore that's it, and yet not that he wouldn't find some other grounds on which to say I myself found, was extremely disheartened by the report, not because I didn't believe in the finding of the intelligence me that they have a high degree of confidence and Vladimir Putin personally ordered the you know this. This beat is active measures to kind of disrupt and create chaos in our election, but because the report itself was so unconvincing when it came to the actual statements of actual f the proof which I gather they couldn't supply, because all of the proofs are highly confidential, but that said than don't offer totally,
general pieces of evidence about how Russia didn't like Hillary Clinton- and you know, has a has a propaganda network that says bad things about America in that end and what does that have to do with whether or not as specific active measures were? And so I thought it was a you know, another sign of the decay of our institutions, that you know the CIA director and the director of national Intelligence and the FBI director all thought that this document was fit for public release. You can make a better case. I would be the k of institutions if they were so interested in exacting political revenge that they were compromise, methods and sources in in the form of this political. Add revenge act against president, whose impunity intelligence community, while fair enough I mean so
it didn't. Do that? That's that's! You know what I mean you are literally talking about putting people's lives at stake exactly there at any ill. If you'd give your not inclined to believe the intelligence community or high ranking government officials you'll find this a very unconvincing report. If you do appreciate that the conditions in the circumstances are trying to work under, and you accept at least that the findings the top lines of the findings of one of the things that I thought was striking in the report, which was new to me, was the contention that a direct conduit had been established between Moscow and Julian Assange of Wikileaks, through which goose to point out a legend romanian hacker which american authorities believe to be a front for russian intelligence communicated information that was received by
military intelligence in Moscow in in the form the Dnc hacks and the best hacks transmitted to Julian Assange. And therefore, if you're praising Julian Assange is nobility and his happy is stewardship of american sovereignty. You are effectively working for the Kremlin to me? Was striking and actually confirmed a few of my life the arena, but may I mean, but the things that I My wife acknowledge really ends up being terribly striking, and it is because the above administration didn't act on any of of any of this for so long it served so now so now, come out with these rules, slam Dunk headlines when there is nothing new but the stuff that you just let lie before is is but this was as their own under reaction that that serve makes it.
Impossible to make a story that yours now. What do I do that did that, like everybody's been saying this is a new and we heard all this and yet the joint statement between eighty and ninety Hs in October. Seventh, all of us nothing. Nothing was no exception. In my opinion, the Julian Assange diviner that before but otherwise all this was established in October, the specific Gurgurk, specific Putin ordering personally that that was do that's it. That's a new allegation is, of course, I think the president himself kind of denied it both do immediately after the election and then in his press conference a couple weeks later, so that was kind of new and raises the question of whether or not they got new. Somehow they got a piece of intelligence, explicitly that subject
the death of they haven't had before. Having said that, yeah it, it has a disingenuous quality to another words like if, if you really had, this have unprecedented interference like why Barack Obama didn't you know July Fifth, come out when he found out of it and say we have evidence of an unprecedented breach in Arsenault in our, and you know this is a terrible situation, I'm merely going to sanction the russian government for its behavior instead of waiting, after the election to sanction, it makes you it doesn't make you suspicious necessarily, but it means you now ok, so you decided that it only mattered when you didn't like the outcome of the results, and what are the results have to do? yeah and regarding the assumption of I've gotta, think that then that the administration has known for years about about, did they
at whatever regulatory intelligence they have regarding Assange being connects to the Kremlin. I've gotta think they ve had some version of that for years. Well. It's not just assignment, though, of course, that it plays a role in here, but Snowden is mentioned in the report, and Edward Snowden is living in Moscow and it's not the intelligence with Edward Snowden had that got them help them interfere with anything unless, unless there was something in the gigantic trove of Snowden, see no thievery, that that led them to down certain corridors and allowed them into certain. You know back doors, I don't really know, but at Epstein New Book about Snowden, basically alleges that he's a spy end and that he was Epstein was told by senior Montgomery official that they know that Snowden is not was not just an unwitting
A wedding agent of of Russia chose to do this. For for that purpose I mean, I think, even illustration: was they lead so much? They they were told they tolerated. So much in the interest of not returning to this old coat war paradigm. You know they didn't want to go down that road. Another she said They decide on the way out. This is that their there's something to it, but I don't think it was this: the old cold war paradigm. I think the obsession with getting the IRAN deal done and then farming up the yuan deal in its weak moments when the way you Know- and this the six months to a year after when it was being violated and still violated with impunity by the Iranians meant, and they want to make an enemy of the Russians. Were IRAN sponsors and then allow Russia to you know if they, if they went crazy, Russia could basically figure out ways in which the deal would humiliate. Obama could like abrogate the did make public.
You know we have public abrogation. The deal after the Iranians have gotten all this money anyway, you know so so lightly. Threatening to sell them advanced anti air missiles well were still, working through sanctions, violate habits, sending them a hundred and thirty tonnes of irregular in which weaken for their peace, we'll nuclear reactors that you may have heard about. So the irony is, are manifold and will never end and Brok Obama got Donald Trump Electorates Oh that's his revenge and that's his punishment and everybody else's revenge and will see how the country handles only Merrill stream will give a very sombre speech about Brok of Amr in his legacy. Oh yeah waited yeah. Well, look there, you know what I mean This labour party turn on Tony Blair at some point, so it could happen, but I doubt it, and so we come
to the end of another commentary, podcast, I'm John Pon Hornets remember, but a commentary magazine dot com, you get a few free weeds and we ask you subscribe. If we enter the coupon code, twenty seventeen you'll get a five a brake on are all access or digital subscriptions? a pretty good deal or you can just click on subscribe and do it right there for no Ross? They re mauled, keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-26.