Purely Political, By James Buckley
I have to respond to the following letter, which I’ll print in full:
“Dear Mr. Buckley,
“I came from a solid Republican family, my father being so partisan that on his deathbed in 1988, he asked who had won the presidential election the day before. When told Bush had won, he said with enthusiasm, ‘Good!’
“In the last 30-plus years the Republican Party has changed greatly, and now leaders such as John McCain and Jeff Flake are castigated because they saw flaws in the man Republicans now revere: Donald Trump. You enumerate all the flawed Democrats over the years who were respected in their party, and it’s fair game to point out their deficiencies, even as you justify some of Trump’s. Mentioning John Kerry serving Biden’s cabinet reminds one that Kerry served in Vietnam while Trump was relying on ‘bone spurs’ to keep himself out of the military. ‘Only losers serve,’ he bragged during his 2020 campaign.
“But to say Trump ‘re-invigorated the American economy’ when the facts show that the Obama policies were already pulling us out of the ‘great recession’ is to stretch credibility. Trump’s subsequent tax cuts failed to do what he promised the country, as corporations hoarded their wealth instead of investing in industrial growth.
“But I mostly take exception to your claim that Trump also ‘re-invigorated the American spirit as no other had.’
“Are you proud of the American spirit Trump has fostered? This ‘spirit’ is one embraced by the least patriotic elements of our society, people who would gladly trade democracy for Trump’s brand of autocracy. Are you proud of your fellow Republicans who support white supremacy, an assault on voting rights, insurrection for the gaining of illegitimate power? Would you glad-hand the Marjorie Taylor Steeles among us? The Qanon followers? The anti-vaxers? The Proud Boys? The heavy-handed assaults on those guarding our hallowed Capitol on a day of infamy? The threats to family members of legislators who dare to challenge Trump?
“Do you not have a shred of pride for people like Liz Cheney and Adam Kissinger who speak up against our recent threat to democracy and the deplorable state of the Republican Party? For Founders like Washington and John Adams who gave years of their lives and agonizing thought to the shaping of our democracy? They wanted to get it right! And Washington knew when to leave the pinnacle of power in the best interests of this democracy.
“Now, so-called ‘patriots’ are dismissing their birthright in a democracy. ‘Trumpism,’ with all the hatred that it embodies is all they care about. You are among them, I know, but I am proud to be among those wishing for a better America than these deplorable citizens want to bring about.”
Wow! Let’s take this slowly and in turn:
1) John McCain and Jeff Flake aren’t “castigated” because they saw flaws in President Trump. The late Sen. McCain was a thorn in President Trump’s side because his vote against doing away with Obamacare caused Mr. Trump to lose one of his early promises. But, to be fair, Sen. McCain was indeed an American hero, just not a very good Republican. President Trump considers former Sen. Jeff Flake a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only), and he is certainly that.
2) Yes, Mr. Trump avoided service in Vietnam, as did Democratic Party hero Bill Clinton, both for pretty much the same reasons. By the way, I did serve during the Vietnam era and know lots of people who avoided the draft. It doesn’t make them brave, but it also doesn’t make them unworthy.
3) Donald Trump never said, “Only losers serve.” He reveres the military men and women who serve. That was one of the hundreds of made-up quotes from “anonymous” sources that plagued Mr. Trump’s presidency and that the press gladly repeated without any kind of confirmation.
What he did say during the 2016 campaign was that Sen. McCain was not a hero because he was captured. I reiterate, Sen. McCain was indeed a hero, but earlier Sen. McCain had referred to President Trump as “one of the crazies,” and Mr. Trump shot back with one of his many unfortunate “counterpunches.”
4) Please don’t try to continue with this ridiculous notion that “the facts show” that Obama policies “were already pulling us out of the ‘great recession.’” The reduction in the corporate tax rate was a shot in the arm for the economy, as were many of the other items in President Trump’s tax bill.
Democrats are quite good at blaming the previous guy for all the wrongs they fail to right. They were still blaming President George W. Bush after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
FDR, in collusion with segregationist Southern Democrats kept the U.S. in a state of depression for a decade through their boneheaded socialist-oriented policies (President Roosevelt’s vice president from 1941 to 1945 was Henry Wallace, an avowed Socialist).
To this day American school children learn how the great FDR “pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression,” and guess who gets all the blame? The guy who came before FDR: Herbert Hoover. It was World War II and only World War II that brought the U.S. out of the Depression, though credit where credit is due: FDR was a fine wartime president. And now, the cognitively impaired Joe Biden, after barely four months in office and thanks to President Trump’s Warp Speed vaccine initiative, is bringing prosperity back to America. Yeah, right. Copy that, lieutenant.
5) “Corporations hoarded their wealth?” Have you ever had a corporation? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be unkind, but that is a silly statement.
6) And, yes, President Trump has re-invigorated the American spirit and yes, I am proud of that spirit. Your letter begins reasonably enough, but then you throw out the same tired and false accusations that are always thrown around by the Democratic Party. Give me the name of your so-called white supremacist-supporting Republican. There are none that I know of.
What “assault” on voting rights? Change the wording to “protecting the integrity of the vote,” and you have what’s really going on.
What “insurrection for the gaining of illegitimate power?” There was no “insurrection,” though President Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 was a really bad idea.
Who cares about Qanon one way or the other?
“Anti-vaxers” are all over the political spectrum, with their main base being in Hollywood. And, who cares? Don’t people have a right to choose not to be vaccinated? How many Proud Boys are there? Whoever heard of them until the press glommed on to a group of men willing to take on Antifa and BLM bullies and rioters?
“Heavy-handed assaults on those guarding our hallowed Capitol on a day of infamy?” One person was shot, apparently by a Washington D.C. policeman and she — Ashli Babbitt — was a Trump supporter.
Threats? Where do you get all this stuff? Is it U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, telling her followers to “get in their face?” Or Mr. Obama suggesting bringing a gun to a knife fight? I don’t know, but it’s ugly and untrue about Mr. Trump and his supporters. All 75 million of us.
7) U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., seems like a decent enough woman but she’s part of the Bush crowd, and they’ll never get over what Mr. Trump did to Jeb Bush’s presidential ambitions.
And finally, you call me a hater, when I simply want to be part of a dialogue about what’s best for the U.S.
Most of us Trump supporters can see his flaws and they are many, but he is also the first guy to come along in a long time to stand up for what he and his supporters believe is a better path for America.
While I appreciate the peace and quiet we’re experiencing from a dishonest press and this stumbling, mumbling president, he is to me a symbol of all that’s gone wrong for the past 30 years or so.
And, thank you for your letter, though I do wish it were kinder and gentler.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.