Q&A: My conversation with Victor Davis Hanson

by Rush Limbaugh in the Limbaugh Letter, March 2019

Thrilled to again speak with this gifted writer, brilliant military historian, classicist, scholar of ancient warfare, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and also a California farmer -- who has authored over two dozen books. I'm just flat-out telling you to get his latest, The Case for Trump (Basic Books):

RUSH: Victor, welcome back. How are you sir?

HANSON: Very good, Rush. Thanks for having me.

RUSH: I've been looking forward to this, it's a rare opportunity. So just to set the stage here, your book The Case for Trump publishes March 5. You write and speak of President Trump in laudatory fashion. You've even described him as an heroic type character, because he sticks to his guns despite all the efforts, and there are considerable efforts, to destroy him.

But aren't you kind of similar, in a way? Many of your friends and colleagues, people you've known your whole life, have become NeverTrumpers. You're now estranged from many people in your walk of life, not just at Hoover, but throughout what would be described as the conservative intellectual media.

They abandoned seemingly their core beliefs for the flimsiest of reasons. They find themselves unable to support the very things that many of them have devoted their lives to, supposedly, and you now are almost isolated within your core group. How in the world did the NeverTrumper phenomenon happen, and why?

HANSON: I think there were a couple of reasons, Rush. This New York/Washington corridor created a sort of mirror image of the left-wing punditocracy. All these people said they were conservative, but once Trump came along, we found they had sort of a cultural prejudice or a distain for this orange-skinned, comb-over, Manhattan wheeler-dealer who went against their own image of sober and judicious commentary.

They really went out of their way to destroy him on grounds that had nothing to do with the agenda, because the agenda was pretty much -- except for maybe populist trade issues and direct appeals to the "deplorables", who had been ignored -- what they had told us for years was so important. But once Trump's handprints got on it they wanted nothing to do with it, and they renounced almost everything they stood for. So a lot of it was cultural.

They thought he had no chance. They thought he would never be nominated. They thought he would never be elected. They thought if he was elected, he'd fail. And they just were blind to a whole segment of the U.S. population. These were hardworking people who hadn't scored well under globalization, whose bounty was sort of confined to the two coasts, and they were completely oblivious to the effects of that. To the extent they were aware of it, they almost blamed these people for failing, as if meth or their own lifestyles had driven away jobs, rather than jobs disappearing.

So here we are, Rush, with this unlikely populist coming out of Manhattan, and he goes to places like Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, and he starts saying "our farmers", and "our workers", and showing a degree of empathy that we never got from our own side, from the intellectual class.

RUSH: The thing that amazed me about the NeverTrumpers is how they had me fooled. I know they have their donors, but I always thought people at The Weekly Standard and National Review were writing for the average conservative man or woman out there, attempting to explain conservatism. We find out that they have a distain for the people, much like the Democrat Party has a distain for those people. It was a shock to me.

HANSON: We had people like David Brooks comparing these "deplorables" to East Germans. Some at National Review said they were failures who should get in a pickup truck and go get a job. Bill Kristol all but said illegal immigrants might be necessary to replace these people who weren't so successful. I was shocked there was that level of animus or venom toward what we used to call the Tea Party, or the Perot voters. They were the backbone, I thought, of the working and middle class, and they certainly had no "white privilege".

Yet the people who were calling them "white chauvinists" were those who enroll their kids into Ivy League or prep schools. If there is such a thing as white privilege, its not applicable to people in the Midwest, but rather people in Boston, Washington, and New York. Still, the weirdest thing in the world is that the elites would show such hatred for people -- most of whom, Rush, had gone along with Republican orthodoxy, voted for the Bushes, voted for McCain, voted for Romney. But they were tired of the "Marquess of Queensberry Rules" Republicans, where you want to lose nobly so you can virtue signal that you're a moderate. They wanted to unleash somebody who would fight back, and that's what Trump was.

RUSH: Is there also an element of seeking approval from, for lack of a better word, enemies? The people we're talking about, the NeverTrumpers, haven't they always cherished being respected by their counterparts on the left? And in condemning Trump, was there an element of seeking approval? So it was personal for them in addition to being professional.

HANSON: Yes, I think so. When you're in our business, meaning as a writer or intellectual or whatever you are, you get compromised in thousands of ways. The only thing that saved me -- it's not my character -- is that I'm on a farm, so I don't hang out in Palo Alto.

RUSH: I was going to ask you how you avoided it. Because you have to have been under immense peer pressure. Look at the people at Stanford.

HANSON: Yes, I'm a pariah, Rush, but they don't have anything I want. I don't enjoy going to dinner with them, I don't hang out with them. They're not particularly friendly to me -- people, venues I write for, that used to be pretty friendly. I don't really like to go out to dinner in New York or Washington. I'm pretty happy on a farm. I'm the fifth generation to live in the same little house.

Something odd about Trump's record though: Look at the judicial appointments, the minority unemployment rate, the energy production increases, the real change in reducing illegal immigration, getting out of the Iran deal, we could go on and on. Rush, if they say they always were for all those agendas, what is the problem, then, with Trump? I don't think they can make the argument, given what you and I know of Bill Clinton or LBJ or JFK, that there's anything Trump has done in the White House, as far as his personal comportment, that even ranks with what we've seen on the other side. So I don't know why they think he's so evil. He's tough. He can be crude and uncouth, but he's not, by Presidential standards, as they claim, unusual. I don't get it.

RUSH: Well, you mentioned Clinton. I know a lot of these NeverTrumpers, and I'm still deeply, profoundly disappointed in them. I remember back in 1992 during the campaign, it was all about Clinton's character; many of these people that we're talking about made their bones back then quoting the Federalist Papers on the importance of character in the Executive. It became a crucial element of who they wanted people to think they are. David Brooks, you mentioned him: Obama was acceptable because of the sharp crease in his slacks. He was serious. So Trump comes along, and I think they almost felt duty-bound to oppose Trump simply because so much of their own legacy, as written by them, was rooted in character.

HANSON: There are a lot of people on our side who may not have voted for Trump in the primary, but they made the necessary adjustments when they saw the alternative. They don't give a blanket endorsement of everything that Trump does, but I think they're starting to get a new admiration for him, as I am.

We've never seen a President with 90 percent negative media coverage. The Emoluments Clause, the voting machines lawsuits, the early impeachment effort, the 25th Amendment effort, you name it, now another impeachment, the Mueller investigation, the assassination chic -- whether it's to behead him, hang him, or blow him up. All have failed. And yet, the guy is 72, he's not in great shape probably, but he gets up every morning and he fights back, and he continues his job. I've never seen anything like it. We know what the job does to most Presidents.

Trump's latest surge in the polls is a result of frenzy of the lunatic left and the good State of the Union. But I think people who might not be fond of Trump are starting to give him some respect just by his physical endurance. I admire him. I couldn't do it. I would have had a heart attack the first week.

RUSH: I don't think anybody in elective politics could put up with three days of what Trump has had to put up with. But he's not caved. He has not sought their approval. he has not weakened. He doubles down on them. It's almost as if this stuff energizes him.

HANSON: It does. And I think the $64,000 question -- I wrote a book about this, but I don't have the answer, Rush -- is about his tweeting. We all say, "I wish he would tweet less." Maybe that would give him a temporary poll rise, but I'm not convinced anymore that tweeting doesn't bring out what otherwise would not emerge, sort of like a touchstone. It kind of rips the veneer off all these enraged people -- for example, the Virginia governor on abortion. We've always suspected that the logical trajectory of abortion was infanticide, but saying so was taboo. We always thought they wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. We always thought they wanted to have a wealth tax or Medicare for everybody, though they never said it. But Trump has the uncanny ability to rip off their costume and show America what leftists are. A lot of NeverTrumpers say, "See, he radicalized the Democrats." But he didn't radicalize them. He just exposed how radical they've always been.

I think he's going to get reelected in 2020, I really do. And I think part of the reason is that he's been able to show everybody in America what the left really was always about. They always wanted to get rid of the internal combustion engine. They always believed in infanticide.

RUSH: Exactly. The fact that NeverTrumpers missed how radical these people have been for all these years is stunning to me.

HANSON: Well, we had the radical Obama agenda. Nationalized health care and the rest. We had Obama saying, "Take a knife to a gunfight." We had Michelle saying she'd never been proud of the country. The radicalism was all laid out there, but they said, "Well, that's not that bad. It's sober. It's within the realm of reason."

RUSH: Right. "He's a fellow intellectual."

HANSON: Yes. "He went to Harvard." But he thought the Malvinas were the Maldives. He thought Hawaii was in Asia. He couldn't pronounce "corps". He said "corpse-men" for "corpsmen".

RUSH: [Laughs]

HANSON: They always contextualize such idiocies. But not so with Trump, there's just something about him, he's just so blunt and direct. It's almost like he has hypnotized them. I always knew that Robert DeNiro and Jim Carrey and Madonna were somewhat crazy, but boy, these Hollywood people have destroyed their entire lives' work. They've come out and said the most outrageous, horrible things, like wanting to beat Trump's face to a pulp. Trump hasn't done anything to them. Or, rather, he has exposed the Grammys, the Oscars, and the White House Correspondents Dinner as circuses. We all knew what they were about, but now there's no veneer. It's what we always expected.

RUSH: Right. And you're confident this is something that a good portion of the American people are now realizing?

HANSON: I think so. I'm not so confident that it's a 60 or 70 percent majority, but I think it's enough to reassure us that people are waking up. The left tries to drive down Trump's polls with constant assault, so the average voter will feel, "Oh, my gosh, I'm all alone. Look at what Trump did today. Everybody hates him. I just looked at RealClearPolitics, he's at 39 percent." But when Trump fights back, then these voters get reassured.

RUSH: What do you make of the fact that as of now, 20-plus Democrats want the Presidential nomination?

HANSON: There's going to be a race to the bottom, because there's not going to be a single Jim-Webb-like candidate, the old-style Democrat. It's like the French Revolution. They're going to start off with "let's have the rights of man and let's get rid of the monarchy", and then two years later, "let's behead anybody who's slightly to the right of me." That's what they did to Robespierre. That's what they're doing now. They already put their signature on that crazy Green New Deal, and it's only going to escalate.

Look at Joe Biden, who's got so much baggage, Rush. The guy is a serial plagiarist. He's said some of the most revolting racist things. If Trump had ever made the comments about Obama that Biden did, he would be through. Biden has threatened to beat up Trump behind the proverbial gym. He's got a whole corpus of just embarrassing things, but he's going to end up as the sober "centrist". He's not, but that's all they have to the right of socialism. They don't have any Hubert Humphrey types or even a Bill Clinton. It's just who is going to out-virtue-signal the other person on the road to oblivion.

RUSH: In The Case for Trump, you write, "Trump is not just a political phenomenon. His person dominates the news, the popular culture, and the world's attention. About Trump, no one is neutral, no one is calm. All agree that Trump meant to do something big, either undoing the last half century of American progressivism ... or crashing the traditional American establishment and its norms." Put on your historian cap. Are there any parallels with other historic figures you have studied that we could look to for guidance in trying to understand Trump as a person, as a President, as a politician? Or is he unique? Is this jarring personality of his without precedent as a national leader?

HANSON: What I'm going to say is going to outrage the left, bit I've been reading Andrew Roberts' wonderful biograph of Winston Churchill. Go Back and look at young and middle-aged Winston Churchill's antics, his recklessness, his speeches, his cult of personality. People didn't know when he was young whether he was conservative or liberal. They said he was an opportunist, and he had this ability to goad people. You see the same lifestyle, except that Trump is a teetotaler. Trump goes to bed at two, he gets up at six. He tweets. People said, "Churchill calls me at three in the morning. The guy doesn't sleep. He dominates everybody. He has to be the center of attention. He has a unique ability to make the Labor Party look like idiots."

There are a lot of elements of Churchill in Trump, the personality, the excess. Trump doesn't have Churchill's level of learning or education, but then on the other hand, Churchill didn't have Trump's business acumen. But they were both pariahs, they were both outsiders, and they both had an enormous confidence in their own physical ability and endurance. And they didn't have to be liked.

Everybody says Trump has a thin skin, he's got an inferiority complex. But nobody who fits that mold would ever take on so many enemies. Trump is not afraid to say anything about anybody. If you said to Trump, You can't get out of the Iran deal, Mr. President, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute, they'll just go crazy," it wouldn't mean anything to him if he thought it was wrong. So I really do see some Churchillian elements in him.

RUSH: What about some of his staffing decisions? And I ask this within the context of there apparently being so many saboteurs who continue to try to destroy from within with leaks, the schedule leak being the most recent.

HANSON: I've been a little bit tolerant because Trump ran as an outsider and he deliberately alienated by design -- again, by design -- that Washington establishment, all of the think tanks, all of the media, all of the Deep State bureaucrats, the revolving door people who go in and out of both parties. I think a lot of his supporters didn't think he was going to win, although I think Trump himself did. And once he got elected, there wasn't a B team, or an A team, there wasn't any team at all to recruit 4,000 or 5,000 appointees. You could see what was going to happen: that people who really hated his guts were going to squirm inside, as we saw with that September 5, 2018 New York Times op-ed where the anonymous bureaucrat bragged that he was trying to subvert, along with others, the entire Trump Administration.

So it was kind of inevitable that subversion was going to happen, but I always thought there'd be a learning curve. I liked Jeff Sessions a lot, but he was not up for that particular job at Justice, where the entire Trump coup movement was focused and had to be blocked. I liked as well other people that Trump appointed, but they were not by nature in tune with him. He's now distilling his Cabinet and Administration, and he's understanding that he's got to bring in people who first have to be on the Trump agenda. That's where Bolton is, that's where Pompeo is, that's where his senior people are. But in the first two years, he's paid a terrible price, because he's had people who as soon as they got in thwarted him, and even leaked his private phone calls. They did a lot of damage.

RUSH: Let's look at the first nine months of his first year when he is attempting to repeal and replace Obamacare and implement some aspects of his agenda. Nothing on the wall during this period of time, but during that first nine months he had no support from his own Party. He had no support from the leaders in the House and the Senate. I came to find out one of the reasons why. In addition to many of them being NeverTrumpers because they're Party people, Washington establishment people, they're in the club and he's not, I learned that many of them literally believed that Trump had colluded with Russia, and believed he was months away from being impeached. They didn't want to have anything to do with any agenda being successful because they thought they were headed for great embarrassment and disrepute. Then when it became obvious to them that this was maybe a little bit trumped up, then they started working with him somewhat.

But I think back, what could he have done if he had unified Party support? We had the House and Senate for two years. Imagine what could have been done if they were supportive and unified behind him from the get-go? How much opposition do you think he still faces in his own Party on Capitol Hill?

HANSON: He faces a lot, though not as much as he did. These people in politics don't really believe in much, other than winning. As Trump gets up to 48, 52 percent, they'll make the necessary adjustments. The tragedy is that Trump has to have these experienced people. But nobody knows how the Senate works better than Mitch McConnell, and he's done a wonderful job with the judicial nominees. Yet what makes him work like that is Trump's success, not his ideological affinities.

Trump is alone out there. What he's got to do is lead the pack. He's got to be so successful and so canny that he stays up in the polls. Even with all this media fabrication and distortion, if he still can stay up at 48 to 52 percent, then that's going to embolden politicians to say, "He's going to win, and I want to be on the winning team, even if it's Trump's winning team."

And Trump needs to get legislation passed. I deplore that cynical fact, but, boy, when you look at these improving polls and that successful State of the Union, and you then look at the alternative with that Green Deal, and you look at what Pompeo and Bolton are doing overseas -- then I think you're going to see more of these people start to gravitate to what they consider is going to be in their self-interest.

RUSH: You've written, and you've told me in our email communications, that you thought the 2016 election was it. If Hillary Clinton had won, that it wouldn't be long before we wouldn't recognize the country as founded. It was that dire, it was that serious, and that you were perplexed that more people in your world didn't see that. And in the Green Deal and open borders and the other agendas they have compared to Trump's State of the Union, the contrast couldn't be greater, more now than it was in 2016. Do you still feel we are precariously balanced?

HANSON: I do.

RUSH: Trump remains the only thing stopping us now from --

HANSON: -- yes, from not just Democratic progressivism, but socialism. Had Hillary Clinton won, all of these issues -- the radical abortion, the identity politics, the Green Deal -- would all be in the legislative pipeline. And I think these NeverTrumpers who thought they could deal with Clinton or thought she was going to appoint some of them were delusional. Because we would have had 16 years of a Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton rule.

And to be frank, Rush, a lot of this started with Obama. In essence, he signaled people, "You don't have to appeal anymore to the white working class of the Democratic Party, you don't have to worry about the Midwest. I have a formula: identity politics, changing demography, open borders, hard left." And it worked twice, in 2008 and 2012.

Unfortunately for Hillary, she figured that constituency would be passed on to her with record voter registration and record turnout among minorities. Yet Obama didn't pass on to her his electoral advantages, but he did pass on to her the alienation that he incurred. And she didn't quite see that. I think a lot of us saw that. We said, "There's no way she's going to get the same level of black voters as Obama, but she may turn out the people who were tired of Obama, and they'll be tired of her," and that was fortunate. Because I think she had a hard-left progressive agenda, and whether she believed it or not, she would now as President be enacting it. She's never believed much in anything, but you can see where this 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is pushing the entire agenda of the Democratic Party. They're afraid of her. She's like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. She's driving the whole Party right over the cliff.

RUSH: You're absolutely right about Obama. He escapes any attachment to any of what I think is lawless criminal behavior by Hillary and her campaign and all of these people who were involved in concocting this phony Russia collusion story. Obama in November of 2011, he didn't write it, it was Thomas B. Edsall, but he was on the Obama team, published a column in The New York Times that basically said the Democratic Party was now abandoning the white working class. They felt demographically that their future was this collection of minorities they could assemble into a giant constituency, and it's exactly what they did. Hello, Trump, who came in and hoovered up the working class.

I watched a video clip of Michelle Obama being introduced at the Grammys and and the place went nuts with just the slightest allusion that she might run. Is there anybody in that crowd of Democrats, let's throw Michelle Obama in, who might give you pause that could defeat Trump?

HANSON: Funny you mention it, I've always thought she had the best chance. It was sort of the same idea with Hillary and Bill. You get Hillary as President, then Bill comes back. And you get Michelle, and Barack comes back. Barack Obama was in truth very unpopular, more unpopular than Trump was -- until the last year in office. And then he decided to abdicate, recede, and just become a senior statesman figure. He ended up with pretty positive ratings, apparently because to not hear or not see Obama is to like Obama. To see him or hear him is not to like him, and he understood that. So I think that he has a pretty positive rating now. And I think she's going to wink and nod and say, "If you elect me, you get Barack and me. We get the therapeutic culture back. Can't we all just get along?" I think that may be the chief threat Trump will have.

You've got to give Obama credit, Rush, in one sense. He did things that were almost revolutionary, but he did them in such a way that the media, the Democrats, the Deep State, and even the NeverTrumpers didn't really object and often endorsed. And I think Michelle's got that ability, and of course he will counsel her. The two of them together will become one candidacy. I think they have the best shot at Trump. There are elements in Michelle's character, whether it's confessing to never having been proud of the United States prior to Barack's candidacy, or saying it's a downright mean country, that will come out, because deep down inside she has serious reservations about the United States and its culture. She's often very bitter, and despite phenomenal success she's still angry about her country.

RUSH: That's true. Anger and rage are the foundational building blocks of all these progressives today. And it's anger and rage, I think, at the basic founding of the country. That's why no fix or solution to any problem is ever enough. The fact that the problem existed in the first place proves we're unjust and immoral.

HANSON: I think what drives them craziest about this country is that, unlike today's Europeans, we put a high premium on action. Our heroes have been and are still explorers, athletes, or captains of industry. We don't put a high premium on being articulate talkers or rhetorical. So all these people who come out of the Ivy League, they're in law, they're in politics, especially academics, and they don't feel they get enough recognition or enough money for their talents. They're not rewarded, and they get very bitter that they alone have the real insight into how America works, and nobody appreciates it and compensates them accordingly, but instead the money goes to all these guys in business and the private sector. You know, talk radio.

RUSH: Ha! That actually is a brilliant observation.

HANSON: Part of the anger is also thay can't do it -- cannot exist without media, politics, and government. Michelle and Barack are part of that class. And if you're Harvard Law Review and you went to the Ivy League, it doesn't matter if you know anything, you still should be listened to. And so why would people listen to a guy like Trump? As if it's the easiest thing in the world for a builder to deal with radical environmentalists, unions, corrupt New York City politicians, and yet build a high rise in New York. None of them could do it, and anybody who can do it, therefore, sacrifices intellectual credibility in their eyes.

RUSH: That's so right on. They have a deep resentment that they're not appreciated and better compensated for what they think are their qualifications, accomplishments, characteristics. It's jealousy.

HANSON: I think the Clintons are a good example, too. They're kind of grifters, Rush. Going back to Cattlegate and all those financial scandals, they were obsessed even with writing their underwear off. They wanted money so badly and what money could bring them, and they were so angry at their poverty, as they associated with all these liberal big donors. They thought, "I'm so much smarter, I've got a better education, and yet I can't get that kind of money." Elizabeth Warren is another example among frustrated intellectuals. It's very endemic among academics especially. They feel they're not rewarded for their vocabulary, their academic credentials, and their brand degrees, and they really hate people in the working class -- and entrepreneurs. Trump is the embodiment of a guy with a Queens accent who made money. He has animal cunning, and it drives them crazy.

RUSH: Well, that is a perfect ending. I can't thank you enough.

HANSON: Rush, I really appreciate it. I think you do a great service -- talk radio is one of the last bastians that's keeping the country sane.

RUSH: Well, thank you. Good luck with thus book. I hope we can make it read by millions. 97超级碰碰碰碰久久久久_一线完整版在线观看免费_日本三级香港三级人妇三