Triumph of the Will
“Conservative” Never Trumper George Will wins the final victory over himself.
“In one of contemporary history’s intriguing caroms, European politics just now is a story of how one decision by a pastor’s dutiful daughter has made life miserable for a vicar’s dutiful daughter. Two of the world’s most important conservative parties are involved in an unintended tutorial on a cardinal tenet of conservatism, the law of unintended consequences, which is that the unintended consequences of decisions in complex social situations are often larger than, and contrary to, those intended.”
That’s the elephantine lead of George Will’s recent column, headlined “Today’s Germany is the best Germany the world has seen.” The real story comes way down in paragraph six, where Will explains: “No European nation was as enchanted as Germany was by Barack Obama’s studied elegance and none is more repelled by Donald Trump’s visceral vulgarity.”
So it’s really all about Trump, which should be no surprise for George Will. He was hailed as the “best writer, any subject,” by the Washington Journalism Review and the “dean of conservative journalists” by Andrew Ferguson in an October 2017 Weekly Standard piece titled “The Greatness of George Will.”
“If Trump is Nominated, the GOP must keep him out of the White House,” ran the headline on Will’s April 29, 2016 column, in which he decried “Republican quislings” who were “slinking into support of the most anti-conservative presidential aspirant in their party’s history.” The quislings would “render themselves ineligible to participate in the party’s reconstruction.”
Two months later, Will announced a change in his voter registration to “unaffiliated,” citing Trump’s complaint about a “Mexican” judge. Will said he joined the Republican Party “because I was a conservative, and I leave it for the same reason: I’m a conservative.” In response, Trump tweeted, “George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party. He’s made many bad calls.”
In late June, 2016, Dan McLaughlin of National Review wrote that Will’s column “has kicked up a stir by arguing that voters of all ideological stripes should hand majority control of the Senate and House to the Democrats in November. This is a profoundly bad idea, and Will makes nearly no effort to consider its actual consequences.”
On November 2, 2016, Jonathan Chait noted Will’s ideological fervor but six months later, “none of his expectations has remotely come to pass.” Will’s April column “currently has less resemblance to the pronouncement of a conservative pope than to Will Ferrell in Old School, proclaiming that everybody is going streaking.”
Contrary to the edict of the conservative pope, Trump did win the election. He went on to take down ISIS, call out Islamic terrorism, calm down Kim Jong-un, lower taxes, and usher in an economic boom with economic growth in the 4 percent range. That counted for nothing with the erudite Will, with his PhD from Princeton.
Last May in New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore described Will as “one of the few #NeverTrump figures on the right who has neither wavered nor flagged in his disdain for the 45th president.” In January 2019, nearly three years after he urged the GOP to keep Trump out of White House, and with Democrats panting for impeachment, Will writes of the president’s “visceral vulgarity.” On the other hand, Will hails “Barack Obama’s studied elegance,” a strange statement for a conservative pundit, if he had bothered to study the record.
In 2009, one of Obama’s first acts was to cancel missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic, both victims of Soviet occupation. That same year, “soldier of Allah” Nidal Hassan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, and wounded more than 30 others. The President of the United States, commander in chief of all U.S. forces, called this “workplace violence,” refused to link Islam with any act of terrorism, and in 2012 at the UN proclaimed “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
In a deep recession, the president bulked up an already bloated federal government and told Americans if they liked their health plan they could keep it, one of his many lies. The president cracked down on journalists such as Sharyl Attkisson and James Rosen and deployed the IRS against conservative groups. He deployed powerful forces in the FBI and DOJ to clear his chosen successor Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump.
POTUS 44 preserved the Communist dictatorship of Cuba and on his way out the door shipped planeloads of cash to the Islamic state of Iran, still chanting “Death to America.” With this guy, it was “your country, right or wrong.”
In the 2017 Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, official biographer David Garrow called Dreams from My Father, POTUS 44’s defining narrative, a work of “historical fiction,” and the author a “composite character.” And like Paul Kengor in 2012, Pulitzer Prize winner Garrow charts the “Communist background” of Obama’s beloved “Frank,” the African American Frank Marshall Davis, who spent his life defending all-white Soviet dictatorships.
After all that, and a lot more, conservative pope George Will hails “Barack Obama’s studied elegance.” So the true back story to Will’s hatred of Donald Trump is gushing admiration for his predecessor. Like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984, conservative George Will had won the victory over himself. He loved Barack Obama.
Photo: National Review